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Why the former boss of Ainscough crane hire set up the Thompson House Equestrian Centre

PUBLISHED: 00:00 12 November 2014 | UPDATED: 19:32 18 April 2016

Guests gather for THREE official opening ceremonies; It's My Life ,  Compassion in Action Rainbow Eco Farm and  The Thompson House Equestrian Centre

Guests gather for THREE official opening ceremonies; It's My Life , Compassion in Action Rainbow Eco Farm and The Thompson House Equestrian Centre


A trio of charities have been boosted by a Lancashire businessman who is dedicated to helping others

The Ainscough family; Caz Hartley (Chris's girlfriend),  Martin Ainscough,  Jean Gibson (Judith's mum) and Judith Ainscough The Ainscough family; Caz Hartley (Chris's girlfriend), Martin Ainscough, Jean Gibson (Judith's mum) and Judith Ainscough

Three charities are on a high after being given help by former crane company boss Martin Ainscough. Since selling the Ainscough crane hire company based in Standish for £255m seven years ago, Martin and his wife Judith have set up their own charitable foundation and supported scores of good causes around the county.

The latest, Thompson House, is a state-of-the-art facility set in 80-acres of farmland which offers opportunities to improve the lives of disabled, vulnerable and isolated people in Lancashire.

This new facility, which opened in September, is a base for the social enterprise My Life which offers activities such as music, cooking, dance and yoga. It is home to Compassion in Action which operates the centre’s eco farm and provides therapy through growing produce, learning new skills and providing holistic care for those in need. The charity to be based at Thompson House is Sports Driving Unlimited which offers carriage driving and equestrian activities to people with special needs and is run by the Ainscoughs’ son Chris.

Martin said: ‘Chris is the national indoor carriage driving champion and he has done a lot of work in between competitions with people who have special needs. He wants to give children and young people who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance, the experience of carriage driving.

Thompson House Equestrian Centre's Chris Ainscough  and 'student' Michelle Fairhurst Thompson House Equestrian Centre's Chris Ainscough and 'student' Michelle Fairhurst

‘These are such fantastic facilities and we want to maximise the use of them. It’s not just an equestrian centre, it’s more than that and it’s quite rare in the country and possibly unique in this region.’

More than 200 community and business leaders attended the champagne opening of the new charity facility, on Pepper Lane in Standish. Martin added: ‘I have been very fortunate in my life. We built the crane business up and sold it for a lot of money in 2007 and now I enjoy doing the charity side. I’m not someone who wants to just lie on a beach. I derive an enormous amount of pleasure from helping charities and I think we have a responsibility to help those less fortunate than ourselves. I spent 30 years building up the crane business and it was an exciting time but we didn’t just sit around when we sold it.

‘We are still involved in business, just not necessarily the day to day running. I probably spend half my time these days on charity and different organisations and the other half chairing the businesses I am involved with.

‘I don’t run the charities, I’m just a facilitator, I put some money in and offer my expertise and I am thoroughly enjoying what I am doing now. I do miss the cut and thrust of business, but I have no regrets at all about moving on. I have no ambition to retire.’

For more information go online to thompsonhouseequestriancentre.co.uk.


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