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From the Archive: Expanding the Jack Petchey Foundation

From the Archive: Expanding the Jack Petchey Foundation

As part of the 25th birthday celebrations of the Jack Petchey Foundation, the Foundation is creating an archive of all things Sir Jack Petchey! This includes photographs, diaries, publications, certificates, and many more, relating to his businesses, the charity, and Sir Jack’s personal life. My name is Katy, and I am the archivist with the fascinating job of delving into the life of Sir Jack Petchey.

On the first of every month throughout 2024 I will be offering a glimpse into that archive through a series of blogs. I’ll be picking out some of the key artefacts that tell the story of Sir Jack and the Foundation. Join us for that journey.



Not only have I been cataloguing the typical paper-based files that you might have read about so far, but we have also been creating a museum of objects. Over the years, Sir Jack received numerous medals, trophies, and other types of keepsakes, often as a thank you for his support. Although many are from the London and Essex areas, some come from as far away as Portugal and even Ghana.

One of the objects was a medal presented to Sir Jack from the Portuguese Scouts. Sir Jack had a connection with Portugal, having invested in a holiday complex in the Algarve. He always believed in giving back to the community in which he worked, in Portugal he started by allowing the children’s homes nearby to come to the hotel to use the pool and have parties. Later, Sir Jack established the Foundation there.

A gold cross medal with a gold pin attached to an orange and white striped medal ribbon with the Scouts logo engraved into the cross.

The other object is a sculpture of “The Thinking Man”, presented to Sir Jack Petchey in 2016 from Ahotokurom, a rehabilitation centre in Ghana.

A wooden statue, shaped like man sitting with one leg crossed over the other, face resting on his hand, deep in thought.


In 2004, the Foundation was only operating in East London. However, it did expand to Portugal in January 2004. Initially, the Foundation’s focus was on the Albufeira district, but by the end of 2005 all schools in the districts of Albufeira and Loule participated in the Achievement Award Scheme. The objectives of the work in Portugal were the same as those in East London.

The Jack Petchey Foundation also had an exceptional relationship with Ahotokurom in Ghana, West Africa. This is because Trudy Kilcullen, the CEO of the Jack Petchey Foundation (2008-2022), had previously lived and worked there, and still had close ties to the area. The sculpture was gifted by Dr Mark Mantey, the Director of Ahotokurom Rehabilitation Centre in Cape Town, in recognition of the impact the Foundation made to people with disabilities in Ghana.

Relevance to the Foundation

The Jack Petchey Foundation really began to expand out of East London and West Essex in 2004, extending to Islington, Camden, and Haringey, as well as Portugal. Just three years later, in 2007, the Foundation was operating in all London boroughs and the whole of Essex.

Although the Foundation never did operate in Africa, when Sir Jack met Dr Mark Mantey he was fascinated by his life story. Mark had grown up in absolute poverty because his parents suffered from leprosy. Dr Mark had sold firewood in order to get the money to go to school, eventually completing a PhD and becoming the director of a charity supporting people with disabilities in Ghane. His achievements epitomized Sir Jack’s saying: “If you think you can, you can”!

For that reason, Sir Jack took a keen interest in Dr Mark. Sir Jack also invited Dr Mark to London to give inspirational lectures to pupils to help those at risk of exclusion understand the value of their education and the opportunities they were being given.

This links to the vision of the Jack Petchey Foundation: to create a world where young people have high aspirations no matter their origins.

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