The mystery of Mr Lancaster’s resignation from the multi-million pound charity has been heightened by the fact that his current term as chairman was due to expire in October, only three months from now.

Helen Munro, the trust’s chief executive, remained tight-lipped about the reasons for Mr Lancaster’s resignation yesterday.

But when the Herald approached Mr Lancaster directly about his resignation, he said: “In essence the executive requested a course of action, supported by a number of trustees, which I considered were contrary to the long-term interest of the trust.”

When pressed for more information Mr Lancaster said he did not wish to comment any further at this stage.

Asked to comment on Mr Lancaster’s resignation, Ms Munro said: “The staff and trustees of Stratford Town Trust would like to extend their thanks and appreciation for all of the hard work and support John Lancaster has provided to the trust, both as trustee and chairman.

“John, whose term of office comes to an end in early October, has decided to resign early from his position for personal reasons.

She added: “John has been a wonderfully supportive chairman and I shall miss his professionalism and calm disposition. For me the last 20 months under his leadership has been a real pleasure. We all wish John the very best of luck for the future.”

Pointing out that Mr Bates had been appointed as acting chairman, she said the trust was currently seeking two co-opted trustees.

These were voluntary positions with a time commitment of approximately one to two days a month. Trustees had to live within the town boundary and the closing date for expressions of interest is 15th August.

Asked by the Herald for a fuller explanation of the reasons for Mr Lancaster’s resignation, the trust said there was nothing to add to the original statement.

This article first appeared in the Herald on 24th July. For the latest breaking news in South Warwickshire, pick up the paper each Thursday for just 60p.