Northgate's Executive Director escapes jail and raises over £2,500

1 December 2014

Northgate Public Services’ Executive Director, Ian Blackhurst, took part in a fun jail stunt today (Friday 28 November) and escaped jail after his friends and colleagues put up over £2,500 on behalf of charity, to secure his release.

Charged with the mock ‘crime’ of ‘making dominating decisions when eating out’, Ian’s fun jail escapade was all in aid of raising funds for the charity Ormiston Families.

Ian spent an anxious spell in Cambridge town jail waiting for his donors to bail him out after being arrested by Cambridgeshire Constabulary and transported to Cambridge Crown Court for cross-examination and sentencing by His Honourable Judge, Gareth Hawkesworth.

“I had my fingers crossed that with great support,  ?we would reach at least £2,500 and 

?that the judge may be lenient with me and possibly ?secure an early release for good behaviour,”  joked Ian after his jail experience. “I am really pleased at the response I have had from friends, colleagues and family to help raise these funds for Ormiston Families, which helps to aid children in the East of England region facing homelessness, poverty and abuse, among many other challenges.

“I would like to thank everyone who has donated- and to say that, while it has been a bit of fun, it is also a sobering experience, to see first-hand what it is like to go through the criminal justice system. I am glad it was not for real!”

Ian said he would go out and celebrate with a curry after being released, adding that he may be asking for trouble as he was arrested on a charge of ‘only going for a curry, regardless of other people's preferences’!?

Ian was not alone in the fund raising stunt for Ormiston Families -some of his other mock criminals who were charged on the day with him included the Mayor of Cambridge, the  Chief Executive of Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust and a local headmaster.

Support for Ormiston Families is part of the Northgate Public Services’ (NPS) new Communities Matter volunteering scheme, the theme of which this year is homelessness.    

Julie Spence OBE QPM DL, Former Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire and a Trustee of Ormiston Families said: “We are grateful to Ian for agreeing to be ‘arrested and charged’ for this fun event and to all his colleagues and friends, who have been really supportive of our cause to help support children and families affected by homelessness and imprisonment. This will help us to prevent homelessness and support families from Gypsy and Traveller communities, as well as run children’s centres and offer a range of support to parents.”

Donations for Ormiston Families can still be made on Ian’s Justgiving website at:

Ormiston Families is a leading charity for children, young people and their families in the East of England.  Included in their work is a Young Parents’ Housing Project in Wisbech, which is a supported accommodation project for teenage parents facing homelessness. Ormiston Families also provides support and advice to young mothers living in flats in Cambridgeshire that are managed by Sanctuary Housing Association. To find out more about Ormiston Families, visit