In November 2018, a work colleague appealed for Christmas Shoeboxes to be made up for her to deliver to underprivileged children in Romania. My Twin daughters, Lola and Angel, had done this before at their primary school and wished to partake in this again.
Their generosity inspired me to want to do the same for somebody and when ITFC announced a cheap ticket deal on black Friday in November for a game against West Brom, I simply tweeted that I would like to buy a pair of tickets for someone who ordinarily could not afford to go to games.
I was immediately flooded with offers from other Town fans and ex-players who wanted to donate too and within six days, I had a total donation o f£2500.00 in my account. Captain Luke Chambers had also made a donation as well as current players donating tickets.
Ipswich Town matched the donations in what was a truly magnificent gesture by the club and local charities and schools became the beneficiaries. Almost a thousand free tickets were donated to those that could not ordinarily afford to go and this will no doubt forever remain the most humbling experience of my life. As the days that followed my gesture of donating two tickets grew into something that I could never have imagined, the weeks since have constantly reminded me that we can all do so much more for those less fortunate than ourselves and also, on a more regular basis.
I have received words of thanks from some of those that benefitted but without wanting to sound like those words have fallen on death ears, the enormous feeling of satisfaction gained in knowing how happy so many people were made to feel was enough gratification needed.
Two days after Christmas Day (2018), I came across a Big Issue vendor in Colchester. As I always do when I meet these vendors, I purchased the magazine. I parted company with a fiver, told the lady to keep the change and wished her a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. My heart was warmed again, a fuzzy feeling if you like in giving something to someone whose needs are greater than mine – I just wish it could have been more.
I am frequently asked why the idea took off as well as it did. I do think that Ipswich fans react well to novel ideas, but it was an affordable way for so many people to help others as well as helping the club benefit too. Would I do it all again? You bet I would. Will it be as big a success? Who knows, but many have said they would donate again. When the time is right, we’ll have another go for sure and I just know that our great fans will be equally as generous.
Here is just some of the coverage that this story attracted: