Tributes have been paid today to Alex Cloke, a leading light with the YMCA and the man who pioneered the building of the Horsham Y Centre.
Alex passed away peacefully on Thursday February 18 at home with his family following a three-year battle with cancer.
Alex was an engineer and designer by profession but in 1983 he responded to an advertisement entitled ‘Wanted - Christian Businessman’. He joined the YMCA as head of the commercial division of the National Council, with responsibility for its hotels, outdoor residential centres, the development of hostels and the running of its work with the armed forces in Germany and Cyprus.
After five years at National Council and London Central he was appointed chief executive of Guildford YMCA. His first task was to oversee the completion and opening of a new supported housing project in Guildford.
His aim was to create a home with hotel standards and to give the young people of Guildford a secure environment as a stepping-stone to independence.
Having retired, Alex hadn’t finished with the YMCA, and subsequently helped design and build another supported housing project in his home town of Horsham - Horsham Y Centre, now part of YMCA DownsLink Group, opened in 2005.
Peter McMahon, trustee of YMCA DownsLink Group said: “Alex was the inspiration that enabled Horsham YMCA to obtain sufficient funds from both local government and the Housing Corporation and also raise a variety of donations from the local church community to assist in financing the venture. Horsham Y Centre has since gone from strength to strength.”