A FORMER Lord Mayor of Portsmouth who spent more than 20 years playing a part in changing the lives of young people has retired from his role in the community.
David Horne has decided to call it a day as the general manager of the Peter Ashley Activity Centre.
I can stand back after the 23 years I was here and say we have done a brilliant job. People book year after year as they want to return and it is extremely popular.David Horne
The hub, within Fort Purbrook, holds different activities for students, adults and disadvantaged children including assault courses, archery and provides a rock climbing wall.
Mr Horne, an ex-Labour councillor for Paulsgrove who served as the mayor of the city in 1999, started working at the centre in 1993.
The 71-year-old – described as a ‘community champion’ by colleagues – said: ‘Working at the centre has been so rewarding.
‘All of our money goes on the fort and despite cuts, we are surviving.
‘People go away with big, happy, smiling faces and that is what I love to see.
‘Even though I have retired, I am still very active at the centre.
‘It is a focus.
‘I can stand back after the 23 years I was here and say we have done a brilliant job.
‘People book year after year as they want to return and it is extremely popular.
‘It was a truly fantastic job.’
Mr Horne, from Paulsgrove, also served as the city’s deputy Lord Mayor in 2014.
He was due to be ushered in as the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth for the second time the following year, but lost his Paulsgrove seat at the local council election to Ukip candidate Stuart Potter, which meant he lost his opportunity to take up the post.
Graham Bryant, 66 from Biscay Road, Fareham, and who is a trustee member of the centre, paid tribute to Mr Horne and praised his sterling contributions.
He said: ‘David is a community champion with always eight jobs on the go.
‘He is happy to muck in, at the centre he always had rubber gloves on.
‘The Peter Ashley Activity Centre is a very worthwhile project.
Mr Bryant added: ‘David and I feel that what we have done is a great achievement.’