PRmoment Leaders PRCA PA Mediapoint PA Assignments PRmoment Awards Winners North

The launch of the Francis Ingham Legacy Fund

I suspect like a few people in public relations, the anniversary of Francis Ingham's death has crept up on me a bit.

There's a lot going on in the world, and life's pretty busy for many of us at the moment, so the anniversary of a friend's passing offers an appropriate time to reflect.

What I didn't realise until this morning, is that someone, someone who wants to remain anonymous, has set up the most appropriate memorial of Francis's life that I could think of.

I've included a link to a podcast and Francis’s eulogy below if you're not aware of the background of Francis's story.

In essence, he had a very difficult start to life, and his school, St Bedes, played a very, very important role in helping him reach his potential.

As we now know, Francis was not able to overcome the scars of his difficult childhood. But this memorial fund will hopefully create the opportunity and the foundation for other highly intelligent kids who’ve had a tough start in life and who may come from underprivileged backgrounds like Francis to thrive.

St. Bede’s College has launched The Francis Ingham Legacy Fund, a new philanthropic fund which will seek to underwrite counselling services for disadvantaged students who struggle with trauma from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

ACEs pose serious potential threats to a child’s short-term and lifelong well-being, particularly if left untreated through proper counselling interventions.

According to the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), ACEs are “highly stressful and potentially traumatic events or situations that occur during childhood and/or adolescence.

St. Bede’s College has launched a public fundraising site for The Francis Ingham Legacy Fund on Just Giving with an initial goal of £100,000.

An anonymous supporter of St. Bede’s established the fund with an initial gift and has pledged to match the first £20,000 milestone of giving as raised from other donors.

The fund aims to provide bursaries to children of underprivileged/disadvantaged backgrounds to attend St. Bede’s College. This is the same form of charitable funding that allowed a young Francis Ingham to attend St. Bede’s in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

The Francis Ingham Legacy Fund envisages to help equip students suffering from ACEs with an ability to process mentally and emotionally the resulting damage rendered to their lives. Therefore the fund will help students develop healthier coping skills to mitigate the effects of prior trauma.

“This specific charitable focus of The Francis Ingham Legacy Fund is the first of its kind for St. Bede’s, and we embrace this opportunity to serve at-risk students in such an important way while honouring the memory of a devoted alumnus,” said St. Bede’s College Headteacher María Kemp.

St. Bede’s College Chairman of the Board Xavier Bosch added: “Knowing this fund’s purpose is driven by Francis’ own personal childhood journey – which he shared publicly in more recent years – will help expand awareness of unique hardships that some students face privately and courageously, well outside the classroom.”

Having grown up in a troubled home situated in Manchester’s local government-funded housing, amid early childhood years of disjointed school attendance, Francis endured a series of childhood traumas. The repercussions and consequences followed him for the remainder of his life, in a silent backdrop to his otherwise significant career success.

Francis’s public recollections of his childhood included comments about St. Bede’s College’s positive role during a 2017 interview on the PRmoment podcast. The podcast’s host, Ben Smith, would later serve as a eulogist at Francis Ingham’s funeral in 2023.

During this 2017 interview, Mr. Ingham said of St. Bede’s positively intervening while he lived for two years in a Catholic hostel: “St. Bede’s was a very kind, benign school to me. They took me back without paying any school fees. They pushed me all the way through Sixth Form. In fact, the Headmaster of the school subsidized me. Sometimes when people make a political point for a moment… sometimes when people bash private schools and their charitable status and so on, I say they probably ought to look at my old school, which made a loss on me, purely because it thought it was the right thing to do. And with their support, I went to Oxford.”

Founded more than 150 years ago, St. Bede’s College embraces a holistic approach to help children develop to be leaders of their own lives.

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for free to our twice weekly editorial alert.

We have six email alerts in total - covering ESG, internal comms, PR jobs and events. Enter your email address below to find out more: