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25 April 2017

As the Football League celebrate their 'day of action', we take a look back at some of the work we've been doing to recognise our local heroes

Today marks the EFL's 'Day of Action', highlighting the good community work done by football clubs up and down the country.


Here at Town, we pride ourselves on being a 'community club' and have worked tirelessly over the years to uphold that reputation. Here's a taste of what we've been doing recently.  


The 2016/17 season saw the Club launch our Community Champion initiative. The idea behind the scheme is to highlight the good people in our community, whether they have gone above and beyond to help someone, fundraised for a charity, supported a community event or shown bravery in the face of adversity.  


Whatever the reason for their nomination, the Club has taken great pride in welcoming a number of worthy individuals to Portman Road, as our special matchday guest, which includes the honour of leading the teams out onto the pitch with the match ball, ahead of kick-off.


This season we have had the privilege of hosting so many kind and courageous people as our Community Champion.


People like Sam Docker. A nine-year old boy who always puts his brother George first, no matter what. George is in the care of EACH hospice, but Sam has a tremendous bond with his brother and we allowed him to lead the teams out against Aston Villa earlier this season. The smile on his face eclipsed anything we could have imagined.


Or Hannah Mills. A truly inspirational woman; Hannah has had to battle through obstacles put in front of her, losing her sight and being diagnosed with breast cancer. Not once did she mope, and has gone on to overcome adversity and courageously helped others. Again, it was amazing to have her pitchside with us for a game and have the spotlight on her.


Then there's Norman Smith, a wonderful man who unfortunately is no longer with us. Norman was a centurion who dedicated his life to support Suffolk school football and always had a smile on his face. Just look at him here cheering Ipswich on as the teams walked past him and onto the pitch. A generous man, sorely missed.


From the old to the young. Meet Oliver, a real-life superhero. Oliver has been through a vast amount of chemotherapy and radiotherapy as he battles wilms tumour. He's been through so much in his young life, yet not once do you see him down. A truly inspirational little guy, he melted the hearts of Town trio Cole Skuse, Bart Bialkowski and Luke Chambers who invited him to the game against Newcastle as their guest. It worked, as he inspired the team to victory!


Meet Sandra Hack. A woman who has given so much to the local community and is always going above and beyond. It's time she was rewarded, so we allowed her to lead out her beloved Blues against Rotherham.


Then there's Warner Duff, a little closer to home as he's a trusted employee of the Club of many years. Warner has overcome so much in his life and gives back so, so much more. He's the disability liaison officer at Portman Road and has become a trusted friend to our disabled supporters, everyone knows Warner! A truly inspirational and caring man and to see him well up when receiving a standing ovation from the Town fans against Barnsley was a vastly emotional moment.

Finally there is Shaun Whiter. Shaun and his friend and teammate, Joey Abs, were subject to a tragic hit and run incident last summer, which resulted in Shaun having both his legs amputated. For a talented and budding young footballer, his world was turned upside down. But the glowing character he has shone through and instead of being down, Shaun has shown remarkable courage to embrace life and will be part of Team ITFC doing the 'Tour of Suffolk' cycle ride challenge this summer. He epitomises bravery and we salute you, Shaun.




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