Tributes to dedicated Town fan

TRIBUTES have been paid to a loyal Ipswich Town supporter who dedicated his time to ensuring the club remaining rooted to its supporters.

Russell Claydon

TRIBUTES have been paid to a loyal Ipswich Town supporter who dedicated his time to ensuring the club remaining rooted to its supporters.

Ashley Cushion, 45, was due to travel to Portman Road for the Nottingham Forest game last Wednesday when he died suddenly from lymphatic cancer, which had been diagnosed two months earlier.

The vice chairman of the London Supporters' Branch, Mr Cushion made it his business to be a link between the fans and the club he loved.

Born in Colchester, he had strong links with the Clacton Supporter's Club after growing up in St Osyth and also became a member of the Fans Forum, pitching supporter's concerns to the club.

A shareholder and season ticket holder in the Britannia Stand, he travelled to every home and away game from Croydon and personally sponsored a number of academy players, including Ian Westlake.

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Martin Swallow first met him on a train to a Town game six years ago and they quickly became best friends.

Mr Swallow, 39, of Blackbird Drive, Bury St Edmunds, said: “He was the most generous, kindest human being you could ever wish to meet.

“His passion for Ipswich Town Football Club knew no bounds and his thirst for knowledge of the club was amazing.

“But there was something more important than all that. He had a special magic to bring people together and he never left anybody out, he included everybody.”

Mr Cushion and Mr Swallow jointly sponsored rising star Tommy Smith last season and would spend hours on the phone each day discussing all the latest news from the club.

A general manager at the McColls newsagents in Croydon, Mr Cushion became hooked on Ipswich Town after a friend took him to Portman Road when he was 10 years old.

Liz Edwards, Chair of the Ipswich Town Supporters Club, became close friends with him and along with many other Town fans has been left in a state of shock following the news.

“Ashley was one of those rare people who always saw the positive in everyone and everything, and was completely loyal as friend and fan,” she said. “Much of his life, as a home and away season ticket holder, revolved around ITFC, but what truly marked him out was his commitment to put as much back into the club as he possibly could, through a lifetime of involvement with the supporters club, through his ever-growing support for and activity with the academy, and in so many other ways.”

Her husband Tim Edwards added: “Many people said football clubs and even Ipswich have been separated from fan bases but Ashley made it his business to make sure that would never be the case here.”

Simon Milton, a former Town player, and now academy sponsorship manager, said: “He was a great supporter of Ipswich Town but more importantly than that, he was a lovely guy and on behalf of everyone at ITFC, I'd like to send my deepest sympathies to Ashley's family.”

Mr Cushion, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma just before Christmas, had been expected to make a full recovery. He attended Ipswich's home draw with Blackpool but died on Wednesday morning after the cancer spread and he contracted bronchial pneumonia. He leaves behind his wife Mary-Anne.