Our Founder

Ken Townsley is a businessman, philanthropist and founder of The Kentown Wizard Foundation.

Ken’s story began in 1945 when he was born in Blackpool to working class parents.

His life-long love affair with the travel industry started in the early 1960s at Blackpool Airport where he worked as a passenger handling apprentice.

From these humble beginnings Ken went on to build the multi award winning Gold Medal Travel Group, which was the UK’s largest British-owned tour operator when he sold it to Thomas Cook in 2009.

Innovative, entrepreneurial and pioneering, Ken built his business empire through hard work and ingenuity – and all without the help of venture capital, bank loans or external investors. A self-made man through and through.

“Ken is probably the most successful, self-made, Blackpool born entrepreneur in the last 100 years!”

Debbie Bamber
Operations Manager

“Ken truly was a pioneer in the way he embraced technology to transform Gold Medal’s business model and give it a huge competitive advantage over its rivals”

Alan Simpson, Executive Chairman, Datel

“Ken is a remarkable entrepreneur – to have built the Gold Medal empire without any external investors, venture capital or bank loans is a hugely impressive achievement”

Richard Ingle
Chartered Accountant and Trustee

Under Ken’s leadership the Gold Medal name was synonymous with quality and professionalism.

  • Sold over 3 million scheduled flights a year.
  • Had a database of 2.8 million customers serving over 150,000 destinations.
  • Had 1 million website visits per week and produced 1 million brochures per year.
  • Every 30 seconds a Gold Medal passenger checked in at a UK airport.
  • Every 30 minutes a Gold Medal client hired a car in Orlando.
  • Every 60 minutes a Gold Medal client checked into a hotel in Australia.
  • 500 passengers a day travelled to Dubai through Gold Medal, making them the UK’s number one Dubai tour operator.
  • 300 clients a night stayed in New York hotels.
  • 125 passengers a day travelled to Australia through Gold Medal.
  • 90 passengers a day travelled to Thailand through Gold Medal and 26,000 travelled each year to Bangkok.
  • Sold more flights to Hong Kong and Singapore than any other UK operator.

But Ken’s story does not end there.

In 2015 Ken set up The Kentown Wizard Foundation and he has since donated or pledged in the region of £100 million to the Foundation.

This sum will generate a significant income in perpetuity and the trustees are charged with donating this income to other UK registered charities for the benefit of children all over the world, making a difference to so many lives.

Ken’s story will never end.

When Ken was asked why he decided to gift such a substantial amount of money he replied “I didn’t want to just leave this money in my Will to benefit various charities at some future point. I wanted to see it being used to help those in need now, today and tomorrow and to know that my success has been put to the best possible use.”

Charity Registration No. 1163956

“It’s great to be working with Ken again. I think I may have one of the best jobs in the world!”

Margaret Ingram

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search