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Andrew Hadley’s meteoric rise
ends with shock departure

Andrew Hadley, controversial chairman of the Arthur Findlay College, has resigned. Or has he? writes Sue Farrow. A statement posted on the SNU website on Friday 13th April 2012 reads:

NEC Announcement – 
Mr Andrew Hadley OSNU

With effect from Friday April 13th 2012 the NEC accepted the resignation of Mr Andrew Hadley OSNU as a Director of the Spiritualists’ National Union and as Chairman of the Arthur Findlay College Committee.

 SNU President, David Bruton OSNU has been appointed as the Chairman of the Arthur Findlay College Committee.


National Executive Committee, 

Spiritualists’ National Union.

Hadley, a successful businessman and director of numerous companies, has been a Spiritualist for less than a decade. Despite that, he has found his way to the inner circle of the SNU with what many have seen as astonishing speed, taking a seat on the Finance Committee at the invitation of the then financial director, now president, David Bruton. He was also appointed a trustee of the SNU Trust, a position which, according to a well-placed source, he has now relinquished.

 andrew hadley  Andrew Hadley: “
I do not feel the
time is right to
make any comment.”

In 2010 he was invited to join a working party which had been set up to consider the future of Psychic News. No doubt his alleged business acumen was seen as an asset in that context, particularly when he was able to recommend a firm of accountants with whom he was familiar, to carry out “painlessly” the liquidation of Spiritualism’s longest-running publication.

That liquidation was later aborted when it was realised that the costs and attendant controversy involved would be far from painless for the Union.

Later, further controversy reared its head with the announcement that the SNU had decided to purchase a £500,000 property in Stafford, to be known as the Arthur Findlay Centre. Few were persuaded of the need for such a centre, and Union members were not consulted about its purchase. Hadley was put in overall charge of the project.

In March 2011 Hadley’s meteoric rise within the Union saw him succeed former SNU president Duncan Gascoyne in the prestigious role of chairman of the Arthur Findlay College, previously held by hugely respected figures such as Gordon Higginson and Eric Hatton. It was a move that raised more than a few eyebrows, particularly since Gascoyne had quit the post several months earlier than planned.

David Bruton (right) will take on the role of
chairman of the Arthur Findlay College at
Stansted Hall (below) for the time being
david bruton-new
stansted hall clip

In an interview with veteran Spiritualist journalist Roy Stemman in April 2011, Gascoyne explained that he had resigned because “the position of chairman of the Arthur Findlay College had become untenable.

“The SNU National Executive Committee were making decisions and these were not being relayed to me properly. Normally, when the NEC makes a decision, it is communicated to you in writing.

“However, when I finished as president, I was no longer on the NEC, so therefore I wasn’t party to what decisions they were making about the College.

“Then, things came to a head at the last committee meeting of the College and both I and the committee were told that some members of the NEC were unhappy at the way the College was being run and also disparaging statements were made about how I had run it in the past, and we learned they intended to take the College in a new direction.

“From that, I understood they want to take it up-market and do different things. And I said, well, it can’t be done. You’ve got a building that’s antiquated; you can’t make it a five-star hotel, and as it’s running successfully now and it’s making a profit for the Union, and people are happy, why change it?

“I also deplored the underhand ways in which matters were being dealt with. Besides, as chairman I was responsible for the College and it was not acceptable that things were being said and done without my knowledge. Therefore, I considered my position untenable and I decided to resign.”

Steven Upton Steven Upton:
“[Andrew] is still
an Officiant of the
SNU and therefore
an individual member.”

As Roy observed, though Gascoyne refused to put the blame for the breakdown of communication between him and the NEC on anyone he was prepared to name, the fact that Hadley was at that time shown on the AFC sub-committee’s list of members as having responsibility for ‘NEC Liaison’ led many observers to conclude that he could be the missing link.

Hadley, it seems, was indeed determined to take AFC up-market, announcing in the College newsletter:

“It is fair to say that the quality of accommodation has fallen below what I consider to be an acceptable level for customers in the 21st century. Communal bathrooms, flat pack furniture and shared rooms with strangers may have been acceptable once but they now belong in the past and have no part to play in a modern College.”

With this in mind, he announced at the Union’s 2011 AGM that “Clock Cottage and the Annexe will be converted to provide premium en suite accommodation. Eighteen to twenty-four months later, ten single en suite rooms will be created behind the Emma Hardinge Britten walkway, along with a new museum and shop. It’s anticipated that these will be funded by profits from the first phase of the plan.”

There would also be “better quality” accommodation within the Hall itself, he said, with conversion to single and double en suite rooms.

Psychic News has been told by a regular course organiser that the “premium en suite accommodation” in the Annexe (a plan now thought to have been abandoned) would have retailed at the staggering sum of £650 per week, exclusive of tuition fees.

Eric Hatton:
his book was
suddenly banned
from sale at the
Arthur Findlay
College following
Duncan Gascoyne’s
as chairman.
eric hatton fireplace headshot

Readers may take a different view from this editor, but for £650 a week I would be looking to the Hilton at the very least, and would certainly not wish to walk in the rain the several hundred yards from the Annexe to Stansted Hall. Perhaps Mr Hadley intended to supply covered golf buggies as part of his all-inclusive premium package.

Essex County Council tells us that there is still one active planning application pending in respect of the Arthur Findlay College, for a two-storey extension. Interested readers can access it under the reference number UTT/0453/12/LB.

Another highly controversial issue which arose during Hadley’s brief chairmanship of AFC was the extraordinary decision to ban from sale in the college bookshop the autobiography of SNU Honorary President Eric Hatton.

The ban provoked an outcry on Spiritualist websites from the UK to Australia, on several of which the decision was described as “the most spectacular own-goal in SNU history.”

Though the book was subsequently reinstated at the shop, it was never made clear to Eric Hatton exactly who had been behind the disgraceful move to ban it in the first place. It is worth noting, however, that up until the resignation of Duncan Gascoyne as chairman of the College, the book had been sold by the shop in large numbers. What changed? The reader will doubtless draw his or her own conclusion.

Duncan Gascoyne-head-NEW

Duncan Gascoyne:
I “deplored the
underhand ways in
which matters
were being
dealt with.”

So what of this high-profile resignation? Two separate sources close to the NEC have told Psychic News that Andrew Hadley did not offer his resignation voluntarily. Our understanding is that he was effectively dismissed at a meeting of the SNU’s Finance Committee, of which he was still a member, on 13th April.

To complicate matters further, Andrew Hadley was installed as an Officiant of the SNU on Sunday 25th March, in a ceremony in Norwich.

Whether he resigned, or was pushed from his various roles within the Union, we wonder how he will now reconcile the spiritually significant responsibility of representing the SNU at just one step away from ministership. We asked SNU public relations officer Steven Upton if Hadley’s status as an Officiant would continue.

“[Andrew] is still an Officiant of the SNU,” he said, “and therefore an individual member.” We were none the wiser.

We invited Andrew Hadley 
to comment on his resignations. He told us:

“I do not feel the time is right to make any comment at present but appreciate the request.”

We can only hope that in accordance with the principle of personal responsibility the current powers that be in the SNU have learnt something from their many high-profile faux-pas of the past two years and will now come clean with members about the circumstances surrounding the departure of the once celebrated Andrew Hadley. Did he resign or was he pushed? And if he was pushed, what had he done to earn the disfavour 
of a president who has promoted him at the fastest rate of knots ever seen in the SNU?

To borrow a phrase from the well-known publication Private Eye: I think we should be told.

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