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13 March 2019

Frome Chamber has accepted the decisions of the current President Simon Williams and fellow committee member Hannah Morden to step down as directors of the Chamber.

Both Simon and Hannah have brought considerable business and professional acumen to the Chamber and made valuable contributions to strengthen our work on behalf of the local business community. Simon had already informed the other directors that he did not intend to stand for re-election at the end of his second year as President (which is the normal tenure for President). However, he has decided to stand down with immediate effect from the committee, along with Hannah, in order that the Chamber is not dragged into the current adverse press reporting. The remaining directors will miss their contribution to the work of the Chamber both at events, working with local authorities and other Chambers and in the boring work of administration behind the scenes.

The Chamber represents a wide range of businesses and Frome is well known for its diverse community. The Chamber committee believes people should be judged by what they do. They are entitled to hold whatever beliefs they may privately. It would be a dangerous course for the Chamber or any other organisations to judge or sanction people on the basis of their private religious, spiritual or philosophical beliefs.

The Chamber was not contacted by the BBC before their programme was broadcast. The Directors of Frome Chamber are aware of the publicity regarding Universal Medicine and that events relating to Universal Medicine are held at Tytherington’s The Lighthouse, which is owned and run by Simon.

We have seen the judgement in the Benhayon case in Australia. The Chamber has no knowledge of the allegations made, and has never had any dealings with Mr Benhayon. For the avoidance of doubt the Chamber strongly disapproves of the activities and beliefs attributed to Mr Benhayon in that case. During their association with the Chamber both Simon and Hannah had never expressed any such beliefs, or raised Universal Medicine, nor is the Chamber aware that they have ever attempted to promote it or recruit people through any events organised by the Chamber.

Frome Chamber, in partnership with other organisations, organises approximately 30 events every year. They are open to anyone who wishes to attend, not just members. We have held two events in Tytherington, for both of which it was the most suitable venue. One was a joint event for businesses which might be interested the Hinkley Point Supply Chain and the other presentations by the Economic Development Portfolio Holders from the three tiers of local government, which included a tour of business premises in Frome. We have also held a successful Business Breakfast and a Discuss & Do event at the premises of DNA Worldwide at Commerce Park which were attended by a wide range of businesses. The only meetings held by the Chamber which are not open to the public are Committee (Directors) meetings which, as with most similar organizations, include discussion of internal administration and are usually fairly unexciting.

As there are rumours that the Chamber has been infiltrated by Universal Medicine so the remaining Directors wish to state that they have never attended any Universal Medicine courses, and do not share the doctrines attributed to it. They do not go to bed at 9pm and get up at 3am, they eat carrots and they drink coffee.

The Chamber is concerned that recent publicity may have an adverse effect on local businesses, including the many alternative practitioners in and around Frome. We continue to believe Frome is one of the best places to live and work in the UK and we will continue to try to make it better, and communicate that message.