Tears and laughter as Crawley Open House director retires

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Crawley Open House said a fond farewell to its director at a packed reception this evening (January 31).

Peter Mansfield-Clark has been at the helm of the homeless shelter and day centre for 15 years but handed over his keys on Thursday.

Peter has seen Open House move from its original base in Spencers Road, West Green, to its current home in Stephenson Way, Three Bridges.

He was made an MBE in 2010 for his tireless efforts to help those in need and to change the attitudes of the public when it came to the homeless.

Dozens of friends and supporters greeted Peter with a rousing cheer when he arrived at the party at the Civic Hall.

There was laughter as he took his seat on a golden throne – which may have looked familiar to anyone who visited Father Christmas in County Mall last Christmas.

Peter listened to tribute after tribute from friends, politicians and community leaders before taking to the floor himself.

They spoke of his work before Open House, working with the homeless in London and with travellers.

Peter said: “When I look back now, all the things I did in the past were practice for Crawley Open House.”

Peter has been succeeded as director by his former deputy, Charlie Arratoon. She will be assisted by Glenn Stubbs.