Sir Fred conned by comic’s sympathy letter


By Andrea McCallum

BLUNDER banker Sir Fred Goodwin was sucked into replying to a spoof letter of sympathy.

A prankster pal of impressionist Rory Bremner sent the shamed former RBS chief a bunch of flowers and suggested he was “the victim of others’ stupidity.”

In reply Sir Fred thanked the joker for his “kind and supportive letters”, and admitted he found himself in ”difficult times” he “could not have envisaged just a few months ago.”

The 51-year-old even added the fake well-wisher to his Christmas card list, thinking he was a retired teacher with nothing better to do.

But now comedy writer Geoff Atkinson revealed himself as the man behind the wind-up – leaving Sir Fred red-faced.

Mr Atkinson posed as 62-year-old retired teacher Colin Nugent in his letter and said Sir Fred had suffered a “rotten time” and needed a “helping hand from the ordinary man”.

Goodwin, nicknamed Fred the Shred for his ruthless mass-sackings of RBS staff, became a national hate figure after taking an early £703,000 per-year pension during the banking crisis.

His peaceful life in Edinburgh’s leafy Grange area was left in tatters when protestors smashed the windows of his car and home soon after the scandal surfaced.

Mr Nugent lured Sir Fred into his letter by claiming it was a “good news story” that Britain was rich enough to support the former banker’s enormous payout.

The supportive letter was one of about 200 sent to businessmen and financiers this year.

And their replies will make up Mr Atkinson’s new book “Colin Nugent Saves Britain”.

Other victims of the gag include Sir Peter Viggers who was hauled up during the MP expenses scandal for claiming £1,645 for a duck house.

Sir Peter was assured by Mr Nugent that a “terrible miscarriage of justice” had taken place.

Mr Nugent wrote to M&S executive chairman Sir Stuart Rose suggesting the government should provide insurance for Twiggy and Take That’s Gary Barlow – who have both starred in the store’s ads – to support the UK’s retail sector.

Sir Stuart replied that he was “as mad as you are, but don’t tell anyone.”

Mr Atkinson said he spent £50 in postage sending out the notes of encouragement, which were not meant to be nasty.

He said: “It makes them seem quite vulnerable.

“All they want is the same as everyone else: to be liked by everyone.

“They’re not cold hearted.”

See more of our pictures at our Flickr site and videos at our dedicated channel,  Deadline TV.