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Our Founder

Kenneth 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 came to sell it to Thomas Cook in 2009.

Innovative, entrepreneurial and pioneering, Ken built his business empire through hard work and ingenuity. A self-made man through and through.

But Ken’s remarkable story did not end there. To have built the Gold Medal empire in the way that he did was an astonishing achievement but what happened next is truly awe-inspiring. In 2015 Ken decided that having amassed his fortune through hard work and ingenuity he would dedicate the bulk of it to benefit of others.

And so Ken established The Kentown Wizard Foundation with the aim of having a positive and enduring impact on the lives of children and young adults with life-threatening conditions and serious disabilities. He has since donated or pledged in excess of £100 million to the Foundation.

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 point in the future. 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.”