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Woking Football Club owner Chris Ingram on his perfect Surrey weekend

PUBLISHED: 21:03 20 September 2012 | UPDATED: 18:22 08 February 2013

Woking businessman Chris Ingram at The Lightbox

Woking businessman Chris Ingram at The Lightbox

One of Surrey's leading businessmen, Chris Ingram works with other entrepreneurs to help them develop their own enterprises

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2012

One of Surreys leading businessmen, Chris Ingram works with other entrepreneurs to help them develop their own enterprises. Also the owner of Woking Football Club and a keen collector of modern British art and sculpture, in 2007 he put his collection under long-term loan with Wokings The Lightbox. He lives in West Horsley with his wife Janet

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I tend to be in Woking most Fridays. Sometimes, I will go to Kingfield to discuss Woking Football Club (WFC) issues but, having stood down from the board 18 months ago, Im involved more selectively these days.

However, my involvement at The Lightbox, where I keep my art collection, has become much greater.

We have a bigger programme of shows now and, in addition, Im pursuing an active loan programme so that pieces go out to other galleries usually in the UK but sometimes abroad. Im doing this because its all part of my desire for as many people to enjoy The Ingram Collection as possible. This has been building very satisfactorily almost too successfully. Recently, in this year of Keith Vaughans centenary, we had three galleries competing for the same pieces at the same time. Being a marketing man, I see this as a quality problem!

On Friday or Saturday evening, we will nearly always eat out. The ability to eat well in south west Surrey has changed beyond recognition in the last few years. This has been hugely helped by the arrival of the so-called gastropubs and I dont mean the noisy, blingy ones. There is now a mid-market London standard of cuisine available all around us. We tend to use most The Onslow Arms in West Clandon, Bistro Cote in Guildford, the Horse and Groom in Merrow and The Queens Head in East Clandon. To be fair, one could add another three or four to this list within eight miles and without suffering a drop in standards. To think that, not so long ago, Surrey was called a culinary desert!

We also go to the theatre regularly: if its serious stuff we nearly always go to London (we are great supporters of The National Theatre, conveniently at the end of our railway line!). If its a musical or family occasion, then we will be in the New Victoria in Woking. They know their market well and its great to see a local theatre thriving when so many in this part of Surrey have failed.

We will usually see our family at some stage at the weekend. We are extremely lucky that both our children and five grandchildren live within five miles of us. Hopefully they feel the same way!

On the ball in Woking
As I write, we are out of the football season, otherwise I would be going to WFC for just about all the home matches and a handful of away matches (I may be the landlord/owner of the club but I started and hope to finish as an ordinary fan). I first went to Kingfield with my Dad when I was 11 years old and lived in Old Woking. My wife, Janet, has just read this paragraph and laughed in derision: If we are out of the football season, how come you are spending hours glued to TV, watching the European Championships?!

Promotion to the Blue Square Premier, stuffed with former Football League Clubs, is going to be exciting and challenging. Particularly as we have no intention of breaking the bank in order to stay in that league!

Right now at The Lightbox, the Celebrating Football exhibition is in full swing. We expect this to attract a much wider audience than usual. It allows me to indulge myself by uniting my twin passions of football and art.

Your average football fan is not expected to like art and vice versa, but this exhibition will be highly accessible no one will be left wondering what it is theyre looking at!

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