Fuller Flavour: So proud to be a Town fan as almost 1,000 tickets are donated for West Brom game
PUBLISHED: 06:00 19 November 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
No doubt many of you will be aware that throughout much of the past week, my original plan to buy a couple of tickets for someone who could not ordinarily afford to go and watch an Ipswich game, snowballed into something rather magnificent thanks to many superb Town fans.
There was no plan in place for anything other than my sole gesture, and certainly there was little idea that I was to sew an idea that would very quickly grow into an unbelievable act of generosity by so many.
Let me take you back a couple of weeks when I was heartened to see my twin girls enjoy putting together a Christmas shoebox each for less fortunate children in Romania.
This touched me, particularly as I enjoy the odd occasion where I like to try and help others too.
I try not to pass a Big Issue seller for example without buying a magazine in the knowledge that they are running their own business and having to buy their magazines before selling them on for a small profit.
By the end of last weekend, it was apparent that my ticket plan was going to grow into something extraordinary as fan after fan wanted to donate to also buy tickets for those less fortunate.
I’ve so often thought that Ipswich Town fans are good people, and of course I would do.
But this was proving that they weren’t good, they were brilliant.
Very soon, I really could not believe what was happening.
And it was not just the donations that were overwhelming me, it was some of the stories as to why fans wanted to donate.
One fan told me that they are a single parent with two children who are all season ticket holders but sometimes struggled to get to games as they could not afford the diesel for their car.
However, they recently received a bonus at work and wanted to share it by donating towards sending other people to the game. What a magnificent gesture that was!
I had an ex-player donate and then our brilliant skipper Luke Chambers sent a wonderful message of support with a personal donation as well as obtaining tickets from the some of the players.
By the time the deadline came around on Thursday evening, the total had reached £2,400 before former Town captain Matt Holland added to the total.
The club have been utterly fantastic in helping with this.
Grant Pringle from the Media department has been keeping in regular touch and offering an abundance of help and support. Not to mention the ticket office who have been superb in liaising with us helping to organise ticket numbers for relevant age groups which could have been logistically difficult.
It was very surreal over Friday and Saturday to see this story in places such as BBC on-line, national newspapers and on TV.
I marvel how so many got involved and my thoughts now turn to how many people will benefit from this.
A massive thank you to everyone who got involved in any shape or form. A special thank you to Helen Royce, Stephen Skeet and Graham Blackburn who have made the whole transition of going from buying tickets to be distributed a much simpler process.
Our total number of tickets bought is 420 which has been matched by the club. With a further 20 from the players, tickets from Grant Pringle and those fans who now continue to buy tickets on-line to forward onto me to distribute, we’ll have donated almost 1,000 tickets for the West Brom game.
Those that will receive tickets are as follows:
Charities: Volunteering Matters, Ormiston Families, Impact Project, Suffolk Refugee Support, Inspire Suffolk Prince’s Trust, Suffolk Family Carers, The Mix Stowmarket, 4yp and Porch Project Hadleigh.
Schools: Northgate and Farlingaye
ITFC Charities: EACH, Samaritans, Suffolk Mind and The Elena Baltacha Foundation.
My very first game that planted the seed as an Ipswich Town fan came under the floodlights at Portman Road over 40 years ago. It would be lovely to think that another seed can be sewn for someone attending their first game under the lights too, made possible by so many of you.