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Ashton to Set Up Foundation to Help Underprivileged Children in Suffolk
Friday, 8th Dec 2023 14:42

Town CEO Mark Ashton is setting up a foundation to help underprivileged children in Suffolk, in memory of his father, who died last year.

Ashton, 52, took over at Portman Road in June 2021 following the Gamechanger 20 Ltd takeover and having settled into life in the county feels, given his position, that he has a responsibility to the wider community.

“I’ve been in this game a long time. About a year ago, my father passed away, he’d had dementia for a long time,” he told Life’s a Pitch TV

“He’s been with me all the way through from when I was nine, at all the games, all the clubs I’ve been at. He’s always supported me, was always telling me how I was doing it wrong and how I should do it.

“One of the things I’ve learnt over the time in Ipswich, particularly with the economic crisis, the cost of living crisis, is that there are a lot of children in Ipswich who are underprivileged, some children who can’t even afford toothpaste or the basic necessities of life.

“And I just think I’m very privileged to do the job I do, to move in the circles I do with well-paid football players and owners and sponsors etc.

“So on my birthday, which was in mid-October, I launched a foundation, I launched something called the Lentonbrook Foundation. Lentonbrook was my dad’s business.

“A substantial amount of money has already been raised. I spoke to Conor [Chaplin] and I spoke to Wes [Burns] and the players are going to donate to it and the money is simply going to go to underprivileged children in Ipswich.

“I’ve spoken to Umbro, the kit manufacturers, and if they want a new deal, then they’re going to have to give me some free kits because I want the kids to have the kits.

“It’s something that I feel really passionate about and I’m in a position where I can raise funds that can go to our own foundation to be redistributed and I’m also working with the Suffolk Community Foundation because they know the pockets and the areas we need to support.

“I needed to remember this every day, [so I’ve had the logo for the foundation tattooed on the inside of my wrist]. That reminds me every single day that I feel privileged and have a responsibility to help the community in which I live.

“It’s scales. Dad’s business made old-fashioned traditional scales, so I’ve used that as the logo.

“We’re at it, with [director of the Ipswich Town Foundation] Dan Palfrey’s help, [director of media and communications] Marcus Nash, the team helping me.

“I wasn’t planning on talking about this tonight, you’ve thrown me a bit, but I want to do my bit and I need to do my bit.”

Ashton says that the new foundation’s logo might prove not be his only tattoo: “I also had a conversation with the family and have an agreement with the family. When - when - we get promoted, the horse is going on that wrist. And you can hold me to that.”

Photo: TWTD

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Help added 16:58 - Dec 8
Top bloke if ever there was one. Looking forward to seeing the tattoo

buckleshamblue60 added 17:54 - Dec 8
Many thanks for your humility and generosity Mark - the very best of luck with your foundation. And our sympathies for the loss of your dad last year. An interesting comment about the horse, with which we can all identify. However, the Suffolk Punch is, as far as I'm aware, still critically endangered and I would really like to see the club make a landmark contribution to its survival. I hope the club is working on this with the Suffolk Punch Trust and that there's an important announcement soon.

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