Award-winning Milton Keynes entrepreneur and young people's ambassador convicted of possessing Class A drug
Milton Keynes' YMCA charity has severed ties with its ambassador and role model businessman after he was convicted of possessing a Class A drug.
Company director Matt Bowler is also facing a court trial in October for drink driving.
The 36-year-old won Entrepreneur of the Year in the Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards.
He runs Vantage Event Structures, the company behind plans to bring a huge Winterland event to the National Bowl this Christmas.
The YMCA was so impressed with Mr Bowler’s success story that they last month made him an ambassador.
But it is understood Mr Bowler failed to reveal he had been convicted by MK Magistrates of two drug offences only days earlier.
He admitted one charge of possession of a small bag of Class A drug cocaine and another of possessing a small quantity of cannabis. He was fined a total of £1,537.
Mr Bowler pleaded not guilty to driving with 63 micro grams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath and the case was adjourned for trial.
City YMCA boss Simon Green said: "YMCA Milton Keynes supports young people to belong, contribute and thrive. We expect our ambassadors to behave in a manner appropriate to our mission. In light of recent events, we have taken the decision to end our partnership with Mr Bowler."
Mr Bowler has today apologised for a "serious lack of judgement".
He told the Citizen: "I deeply regret the incident in question which came at the end of a long and difficult week. I understand this is no excuse and I take full responsibility for my actions. I was found to have a small quantity of drugs but had not taken any. I accept that this was a serious lapse in judgement and I am determined to move forward, with this lesson learnt, and continue to create a better life for my family and the people I support."
He added: "Whilst my past is well documented, the community in Milton Keynes has seen the progress I have made, both personally and professionally, over the last several years. I have never hidden away from past mistakes and in fact they have inspired me to attempt to make a positive difference to the community that I love. I have built a business I am proud of and have done my best to support others along the way, through various schemes and initiatives. It is precisely because of my past that I have sought to be so involved in community projects.
"Finally, I would like to apologise to anyone I have let down and am truly grateful to everyone that has supported me through a very difficult few weeks."