A community figure, who has helped raise thousands of pounds for charities and groups across the county, has slammed the president of Watford Lions for treating him “like a child”.

Lord Mark Franklin, of College Road, Abbots Langley, claims he is being victimised after president Michael Chapple wrote a letter criticising his behaviour.

The 45-year-old, who was part of Watford Lions for the past five years, said he is so outraged that he has resigned from the club.

He explained: “I received the letter a couple of weeks ago, outlining that I had been making ‘inappropriate comments’ to a female member.

“The letter went on to describe how my ‘unsuitable behaviour’ stems from alcohol and excessive drinking.

“I couldn’t believe what I was reading, I felt a mixture of emotions, anger, frustration, outrage – but mainly sadness.

“Watford Lions has been a huge part of my life, and I’ve helped with many of their fundraising events – from the Abbots Langley carnival to the fireworks at Cassiobury Park.

“My own mother wouldn’t behave like this – I’m being treated like a naughty child.”

Mr Franklin, a gardener, said the final straw came at the Lions’ annual presentation evening on March 11, where he claims he was told he was not "wanted" at the event.

He said: “I take about half a pint of scotch to meetings and a pint of scotch to events – this is something I have never hidden, it’s not a problem.

“So why Michael Chapple has taken it upon himself to criticise what I drink is beyond me. It has never prevented me from fulfilling my duties as a Watford Lion.

“As for my relationship with the woman in question, along with her husband we’ve all been friends for many years. But again this has nothing to do with the Lions.

“I feel hurt, I don’t know what I’ve done or why I’m being treated in this way, all I’ve ever been is friendly. I’ve tried to be a Watford Lion to the best of my ability.”

Mr Chapple declined to respond to Mr Franklin’s allegations, stating that it is “an internal matter for Lions Club International.”

But the husband of the female member involved in the allegations, Bill Cochrane, has chosen to reply.

Although he is a member of the club, he stressed that he is not speaking on behalf of Watford Lions.

He said: “Mark knows that I am not happy about his behaviour towards my wife. I had noticed and it has been remarked upon by other people.

“The way he touches her, wrapping his arms around her, the inappropriate comments such as wanting to rub her down in the shower.

“As for his drinking, of course it has affected his ability to carry out his role as a Watford Lion.

“There have been times when we have discussed things that have happened at the meetings and he just can’t remember.

“His drinking is a problem for the lions, which has prompted this letter.

“He was not told to leave the presentation evening, just that he couldn’t make a speech.

“Instead of taking on board what has been said and moderating his behaviour, he’s completely over-reacted and decided to resign.

“I wanted things to go back to the way they were, to carry on as friends, but this has turned from a molehill into a mountain.”