July 2020

Tributes have continued to pour in following the death of legendary Ipswich Town patron and former director Major Philip Hope-Cobbold (1943-2020) #577

Renowned across Suffolk not only for his passion for his beloved club but also for his warmth and generosity, he was the last of a long line of Cobbolds to serve on the club’s board.  His family had helped form the club and paved the way for domestic and European glory.  He attended his first game at Portman Road as a young boy in 1950 alongside his uncle ‘Mr John’ and was appointed a director in 1995.  Tributes have come from around the sporting world, with those who hold Town close to their hearts wanting to share their fond memories.  Ipswich Town director and friend, Richard Moore said Philip’s spirit must be kept alive at the club and recalled fans’ joy at meeting him on away days particularly during Ipswich’s European heyday.  “In the spirit of Ipswich Town Football Club we must keep him alive and treasure those special moments.”  TalkSport presenter Georgie Bingham, an Ipswich Town fan, said Mr Hope-Cobbold “epitomised” what Ipswich was.  “This man was the life and soul of every gathering he was at and a very old family friend” she said.  Former Ipswich captain Matt Holland added: “Incredibly sad news.  What a fantastic man with a great sense of humour who will be deeply missed by all the Ipswich Town family.”

The East Anglian Daily Times, from which the above is extracted went on:

Family History

No family has played such an instrumental role in the history of Ipswich – and Suffolk – quite like the Cobbolds.  Their association with the region stretches hundreds of years after the first Cobbold brewery opened in Harwich in 1723, before moving to Cliff Lane in Ipswich in 1746.  The brewery would later merge with Tollemache in 1957 to become the famous Tolly Cobbold brewery, which eventually became part of Greene King in 2005.  Away from beer, the philanthropists are well known for their role in securing the future of Christchurch Park, with Felix Thornley Cobbold (1841-1909) #201 buying the mansion in 1895, then at threat of demolition, and returning it to the Ipswich Corporation and the people of Ipswich.  They helped kick-start development of Felixstowe and funded a First World War memorial wing at Anglesea Road Hospital, as well as a children’s wing and a tennis court for nurses.  It is no surprise so much of Ipswich Town’s glorious history came thanks in part to the Cobbold family.  It was indeed the Cobbold family who helped form ITFC in 1878, with then Ipswich MP Thomas Clement Cobbold (1833-1883) #191 serving as the club’s first president.  Five family members would serve as chairmen.  A visit to Highbury, the former home of Arsenal, saw club president John “Ivan” Cobbold invest the funds to turn the club professional in 1936.  He died after a bomb fell on the Guards Chapel in 1944.  The family’s ties with the club continued after the war, with Ivan’s son John appointed a director aged 21 in 1948, later becoming chairman himself at the end of the 1956/57 season.  It was under his tenure that Town were crowned league champions in 1962, before a battle with cancer saw him step down to continue as a director in 1976.  Before his death in 1983, aged 56, the club had lifted the FA and UEFA cups and cemented themselves in history as a power house of English football.  The family handed over the reins to John Kerr in 1991 but have remained in Town folklore since. 

The East Anglian Daily Times’ summary echoes much of what The Cobbold Family History Trust has been seeking to research, record and safeguard over the first 15 years of its life.

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