Heaven and Hell: Simon Milton

Former Ipswich Town star and fundraiser Simon Milton

Former Ipswich Town star and fundraiser Simon Milton - Credit: Contributed

Simon Milton was born in Fulham, London and moved with his family to East Anglia in 1976.

Joining Ipswich Town as a player in 1987, he went on to play 330 games scoring 56 goals. 

After 30 years at Ipswich Town on and off the field, Simon was appointed corporate social responsibility director at the OMA Group Shipping and Logistics Agency in Ghana.

He is also the director of Futurestars charity which has just launched a new sponsor a child scheme in Ghana, offering a full education for less than 50p a day.

Here he talks to Gina Long

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What’s been the impact of Covid-19 and how are you adapting?I have been working from home in Tattingstone since 2017 so it’s been business as usual, but the pandemic had impacted my travel to Ghana and Togo.

In 2019, I travelled to Africa six times for two weeks at a time with the Futurestars charity ambassador and lead coach, Titus Bramble.

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We have just returned from Ghana in early June but that was my first trip since January 2020.

I have spent the lockdowns reviewing our charity strategy and setting new impact goals for 2021 and beyond.

The closure of our partner schools in Ghana and Togo due to Covid-19 has meant we have had to adapt our sports sessions to follow African government guidelines for safe and compliant practise.

We have expanded during the pandemic and launched a Volunteering Section of the charity which offers students the chance to travel to Ghana and work in our schools and projects.

What is your connection to East Anglia?

I moved from Fulham to Thetford, Norfolk with my family in the late seventies as we had family in the area.

I then moved across the border to Suffolk in the 90s and have lived in this county ever since.

Whilst never forgetting my London roots, I am definitely an adopted Suffolk boy now.

What is your East Anglian Heaven?

I have met some amazing people over the years, mostly introduced during my time spent at Ipswich Town and many have become great friends from either on or off the football pitch.

I love the exceptional countryside and towns like Bury St Edmunds, Woodbridge, and Aldeburgh.

Plus, the many beautiful villages I cycle through on a regular basis.

Suffolk’s golf courses and pubs are also first class and I had missed visiting them during the pandemic.

What is your East Anglian Hell? 

Not much at all really, but Ipswich’s town centre leaves a lot to be desired.

What are your favourite East Anglian restaurants?

The Galley in Woodbridge, all the Milsom’s establishments and the Salthouse Harbour Hotel. Plus, Jimmy’s Farm for Sunday lunch and wildlife walks.

What’s your favourite East Anglian landmark?

It has to be Portman Road – home of Ipswich Town Football Club.

I spent 30 years there on and off the pitch and it will always be a special place in my life.

I am also a regular visitor to Alton Water for head clearing walks and rides.

What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?

For me, it is watching Ipswich Town home games - taking the rough with the smooth and with the new owners and management I hope the good times are ahead.

I am also a big fan of the Suffolk Show.

What's your specialist Mastermind subject?

Wow. Ipswich Town history from 1987 to 2017?

What is always in your fridge?

Chicken, Sumaridge White Wine, olives, and full fat milk.

What’s your simple philosophy of life?

Never give up and never give in, treat people how you would like to be treated, and nothing successful comes without sacrifice.

What’s your favourite film?

Any of the James Bond collection. I love them all from the 60’s to the present day.

What was your first job?

Apprentice electrician

What are your most treasured possessions?

After my three children and my amazing group of close friends, my thatched Suffolk cottage and all its contents.

Who do you admire most?

Personally. my mother Doreen Milton - 92 and still head of the Milton family.

Professionally, every coach, manager and team-mate who shaped my football career.

What are your biggest indulgences?

Far too many. Socialising, travel, watches, bikes, and clothes.

What do you like about yourself most?

My positive attitude and enthusiastic character.

What’s your worst character trait?

Expecting everyone to be as enthusiastic and positive as me and impatience - I want everything now.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Dubai amazes me every time I travel there. I also love Ghana where I spend three months a year working with underprivileged children at our charity schools.

Best day(s) of your life?

1 - The birth of Jessamy Milton in 1990, Max Milton in 1994 and Halle Milton in 2011.

All life-changing days

2 - Being offered a professional football player's contract at Ipswich Town FC in 1987.

3 – Setting up Futurestars charity with Gary Miller in 2018 to support thousands of underprivileged children in Ghana and Togo.

What’s your favourite breakfast?

Eggs Benedict served at a quality hotel .

What’s your favourite tipple?

Beer - Moretti or Peroni

Cider – Aspalls from Suffolk

Wine from Sumaridge in Hermanus, South Africa

What’s your hidden talent?

Enthusiasm. It’s not hidden but it seems to work when I am encouraging people to join me to take on various charity challenges where we have a brilliant time and raise much needed funds.

What’s your earliest memory?

Playing football in South Park, Fulham with my dad Harry, and brother Paul. Another two heroes of mine.

Tell us something people don’t know about you?

I am going to be a Grandfather soon. Wow, thanks Max! I

have also presented to hundreds of up-and-coming jockeys at the British Racing School in Newmarket with my friend and jockey coach, Richard Perham. 

What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

You can’t possibly do that.

Tell us why you live here and nowhere else?

I’m blissfully happy here.

I spend up to three months in Ghana during the year, I can’t wait to get out there but also enjoy coming home.

Whether I am out walking or cycling, I love Suffolk’s countryside, beaches, pubs, restaurants, golf courses and all they have to offer.

Suffolk is my home and most of my friends and family are close.

What do you want to tell our readers about most?

Live life to the full and you can do anything you put your mind to.

Determination, attitude, application, and a bit of talent goes a long way.

Bring the skills you learn along the way into your everyday life and enjoy yourself.

Also a request, The Futurestars charity needs volunteers.

Have you ever thought of volunteering in Africa to support local communities and schools as part of your own development?

We are partnering with Suffolk New College to bring Suffolk students to Ghana every year to work at our schools and communities.

You don’t have to be a student to volunteer, and it is open to everyone.

Following the pandemic, here’s an opportunity to do something amazing.

For more information visit our website www.futurestarscharity.org.uk and please get in touch.

If you have a story, email gina@hallfarmfornham.com or follow Twitter: @geewizzgee1 Instagram: @ginalong_geewizz

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