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our trustees

We’d love to introduce you to The Mason Foundation’s board of trustees, who are committed to maintaining public trust, and responsible for making sure we all work towards our charitable mission. They help shape and drive the long term direction and sustainability of the charity and the services we deliver.

Stephen Mason - Chair of Trustees

Stephen is the founder of The Mason Foundation, a charity designed with the purpose to support vulnerable communities, enabling them to become more active. Stephen himself is no stranger to adversities. Born a thalidomide sufferer, with acute dyslexia, he left school with no qualifications, (apart from the record for the under 12’s one length butterfly!). Despite these obstacles, Stephen went on to obtain a degree and launch an eclectic mix of successful businesses.

In 2017, Stephen saw a desperate situation with the nation becoming increasingly unactive and as a result, decided to marry his extensive entrepreneurial experience with his passion for philanthropy – and The Mason Foundation was born. His unparalleled vision paved the way for what is now a thriving Sport England funded charity, making a difference to those who need it most.

Stephen has numerous charitable interests and apart from various regional support to local charitable bodies, he provides management and business expertise to the Thalidomide Trust, along with a significant investment in educational and employment initiatives throughout the world. Stephen’s determination and resilient approach to life translates in the very essence of The Mason Foundation, striving to equip the more vulnerable members of society with the tools to better their lives, all by doing ‘Their Mile, Their Way’.


Jackie Sumner

Jackie has forty years’ experience across the fields of Housing, Community Development, Arts Development, Youth Services and Higher Education. Over her career, she has worked for charities, colleges and a range of local authorities to help instigate positive change in communities. She is currently the Head of Community Investment at Town and Country Housing Group and was the Chief Officer for Town and Country’s charitable Foundation – a post she has held since December 2006. Jackie was a key asset in the growth of this foundation, from establishing the charity, its business plan, and associated funding. The Foundation delivered a wide range of investment initiatives as well as wider neighbourhood renewal programmes.

Since 2017, Jackie has worked across the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and the Housing Association with a focus on economic inclusion and employment.  She was previously a trustee of Community Development Exchange, a national body which aims to promote social justice and drive through positive improvements in people’s everyday life via the community development approach. Jackie’s key experience is in delivering ‘genuine’ resident involvement. She has spent her career working with individuals and communities to make a difference and her track record includes the establishment of award-winning charities, social enterprises and innovative partnerships.


Keith Downing

Keith has been a qualified P.E teacher since 1987, working in schools in Luton and Stevenage before serving 24 years as Head of Department at Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys. Since leaving TWGSB, Keith has continued educating children as a Games Coach and more recently as a Level 2 qualified tennis coach.

Keith has always experienced a huge thrill from engaging children in active sport, particularly in activities where all abilities and age groups can participate. When Keith met Stephen Mason and Stephen shared his enthusiasm and vision of The Mason Mile, Keith immediately knew that the project would be a success for youngsters and adults of all ages, because of its simplicity and the mental and physical benefits to all participants. TWGSB was at the forefront of participating West Kent Secondary Schools, hosting Mason Mile events for neighbouring Primary and Secondary Schools and holding their own monthly events on Sunday mornings.

Keith is extremely proud of the progress made by the charity and will continue to support as a trustee and assist the promotion of the project in schools and the community wherever possible, and whenever required.


Sophie Mason

Sophie began her career as an Account Manager for Aditus Audience Acquisitions; a subscriptions marketing company, where she helped manage the sales and growth targets for the UK’s leading news publications. She then moved into the film distribution world at Motion Picture Solutions, managing the expectations of major film studios, and responsible for ensuring theatrical content was delivered on time to cinemas worldwide. During this 4 year period, Sophie moved swiftly into managing the Distribution Department, and then was promoted to Global Support Manager.

Since 2017, Sophie has set up her own company, One Stop VA, offering virtual business support to a variety of different clients. This drive to help small businesses and charities to organise themselves and increase their online presence, has really boosted Sophie’s passion for assisting those who need it, with her relevant skillsets.

As a keen mental health and wellbeing advocate, Sophie has a vested interest in helping to educate disadvantaged communities in the simple lifestyle changes which can help improve overall wellbeing. The ‘starting point’ to activity, which is the initiative that The Mason Mile champions, and is at the heart of The Mason Foundation, is something that Sophie truly believes can help everyone, no matter what their ability or current lifestyle is.


Martin Ebdell

The first 20 years of Martin’s career began in the construction industry, where he quickly rose to a project director level, managing the building process of large commercial and industrial buildings. In 2000, Martin was responsible for overseeing the completion of a failed Millennium charity project called ‘The Earth Centre’, where he resolved all outstanding contractual and financial claims to successfully complete this innovative project. With his extensive experience in delivery projects from inception to completion, for the next four years Martin channelled his expertise into working as a freelance project manager.

In 2004, Martin joined a startup company that provides English and academic foundation courses for international students. Martin is responsible for the design and construction of their teaching and residential centres and with his influence, they are now one of the biggest in the UK and USA.

Martin is very family orientated and enjoys a range of hobbies, including running, sailing, diving, and even has his own pilots’ license. He also spent 10 years involved in the RNLI and was an active crew member of Brighton lifeboat. Martin has loved seeing the concept of The Mason Mile gradually evolve, and he strongly believes that this simple idea will have a lasting effect of people’s attitude towards exercise and health.


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