Charity bombshell for lifesaver Swampy

Chris "Swampy" Garrett

Chris "Swampy" Garrett

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He may be risking his life to help clear a Burmese border region of landmines.

But it seems Chris ‘Swampy’ Garrett has received a bit of a bombshell back home in the island - after Manx authorities warned him he could fall foul of the law if he was to continue promoting an unregistered Manx charity.

Former QEII High School pupil Mr Garrett, 30, has spent the past four months putting his life on the line day after day as an unpaid volunteer clearing landmines in Burma.

He’s currently back in the island to raise awareness for the Beyond the Borders project.

But when the story about his exploits appeared in last week’s Manx Independent, Mr Garrett was contacted by assistant chief registrar Martin Blackburn.

Mr Blackburn wrote: ‘It has been brought to our attention that your organisation is holding itself out as a charity in this jurisdiction.

‘This has been highlighted by an article in the Manx Independent entitled “Swampy puts life on line clearing mines” where it advised ‘Chris raised nearly £700 for the Beyond the Borders charity.

‘There is no such charity on our register nor can I find reference to it on the UK Charity Commission website.

‘A website referenced in the Manx Independent article, includes the statement ‘If we can get 50 people to donate £5 on a weekly basis we can run this project while we try to source larger funds from donors’.

‘It also has the following: ‘If you would like to make a donation, please go to the donations page for more information’.

Mr Blackburn informed him he may be in breach of the 1989 Charities Registration Act which makes it an offence for an institution to be held out as a charity if it is not registered as such.

He added: ‘Whilst fund raising activities continue on the Isle of Man, including the appeal on your website which has a Manx registered domain, you may be at risk of contravening the above section until such a point as the institution is registered as a Manx charity.

‘I would be grateful to receive further information regarding your activities. This will enable us to determine whether there is a necessity for you to register. Please see our website at’

Since March, Mr Garrett has been one of the volunteers helping rebuild lives for the people of Karen State where a 67-year civil war has left around 500,000 mines in the ground. Landmines account for a large number of casualties – nearly all children – each year in the area.

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