Ron Ames Memorial Sports fund

As a member of the local community you will probably already be aware that earlier this summer Stowmarket lost one of its leading lights, a superstar, a wonderful man called Ron Ames.

Born in the Stowupland street fish and chip shop, educated in Stowmarket schools, traveled the hippy trail to live on a beach in Portugal, husband to his beloved Val, founder of Stowmarket Volleyball club, coach, mentor and inspiration to hundreds of young boys and girls, father to two wonderful lads, Mark and Tom, self- taught Suffolk Barn expert which took him all over the world, a skier, a snowboarder,  a Stowmarket Strider, a leading light of Stowmarket swimming club, and international athlete. Where does one start to celebrate such an amazing life?

Last Christmas. Ron had already represented his country at the World Triathlon. Having finally stopped playing his beloved volleyball at the young age of sixty, Ron returned to his swimming, joined striders, and took up triathlons.

Last Christmas he received a letter to tell him that he had been selected again for the 2018  event– he was still in full training when the cruel illness took hold, depriving Ron of his second international honours, his family of a wonderful loving husband, dad and grandad and the rest of us of a wonderful Stowmarket character.

For many people, the mention of Ron is synonymous with volleyball, and it is through this sport he changed the lives of so many youngsters. He led by example, displaying a terrific work ethic always allied with a sense of fun. But no need for us to explain – let us just quote some who posted on Facebook;

Most teenagers when Ron had such an effect on their lives – many now coming to the end of successful careers – …a true legend… Throwback to when he spent hours teaching us youngsters … great times … True sportsman!… inspiring … amazing man… Always helping others… legend is spot on… always the first to come and say hello… Me and Ron had wonderful battles across the net … true gentleman throughout… such a sweet man…always looked forward to bumping into him…a great guy, a legend I would say… it was the best time I’ve ever had… always came up with something fun…. memories of the Belgium trip etc, were all golden… Our volleyball trips to this country and Belgium will forever be embedded in my memories.

How Ron found time for the rest of his life while inspiring these youngsters I am not sure. But he did have another life – and it was an amazing one. He met Val, his wife-to-be, at about the same time he tragically lost one of his brothers in a motorcycle accident.

Ron and Val did what many dreamed of doing in the late 60’s – throwing away a conventional lifestyle to take off in their bright yellow camper van to travel to Portugal where they whiled away their time surfing during the day and sleeping on the beach at night. Back to a more conventional job in an architect’s office (now living in a bungalow in Combs) but that wasn’t Ron’s style. He wanted to be more ‘hands-on’ and set up an architectural building firm, working on Suffolk timber-framed buildings. 

He developed such a skill level that his work took him around the world. Ron was an educated man- not so much in a conventional way (Ron didn’t have a lot of time for the institutionalised way of life) but in a self-taught, university of lifestyle. During the occasional breaks in work (and they WERE occasional if you worked for Ron!) he would always have a book on his lap.

To finish this piece off I am returning to Ron’s work with young people. While he was coaching the Stowupland boys’ team a young lad turned up. He came from the Far East and had no family in this country. I think that Ron became something of a ‘father figure’ to this lad.

On hearing of Ron’s passing, his thoughts (not edited) sum up how so many felt, ‘I got so many to say but for now, I just wanna say a big Thank you for everything that you have done and rest in peace Mr Ron Ames, you were a legend, you always are and your stories will keep passing on’ – Hermus Pun. 

The trustees of the ‘Ron Ames Memorial Sportsfund are absolutely delighted to have made four, recent and thoroughly deserved grants. The trustees are so very pleased to have been able to make these awards and wish all four recipients the very best in the sporting journeys.

They also know that if he were still with us, Ron would join them in their best wishes. It is only down to his contribution to youth sport in Stowmarket, for so many years, that the charity was set up five years ago to recognise his contribution and keep his name at the forefront of Stowmarket sport.

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