Leading article: A model charity

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The Independent Online

News that the charity set up to help victims of the London bombings had shut down, as reports put it yesterday, made it sound as though this was just another ambitious enterprise that had failed. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The rather clumsily named London Bombings Relief Charitable Fund has wound up its activities because its work is done - and done, by all accounts, exceptionally well.

Formed to dispense the money contributed spontaneously by the public immediately after the bombings, the fund raised £12m, all of which has now been distributed. The money was allocated according to consistent and transparent criteria. The fund's website has been a model of its kind: simple to use and informative.

The operation as a whole combined the best of public, private and voluntary sector practice. It won recognition, and awards, for its effectiveness.

At a time when so many ventures make the news because of poor management - the computerisation of the NHS and the interminable Wembley stadium project come to mind - it is heartening to find that exemplary stewardship of other people's money still exists. Heartening, too, that the fund managed to avoid the resentment and in-fighting that attended a similar body set up for the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. It also succeeded in keeping itself distinct from the Government's compensation scheme, which came in for criticism for parsimony and insensitivity.

So we salute the fund and its trustees, and hope that others will learn from its example.

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