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Tributes paid after Tilgate Councillor passes away

Councillor Charles Petts passed away yesterday evening (15th July).

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Councillor Charles Petts recently won a council seat for Tilgate in the May elections after serving as a West Sussex County Councillor for Three Bridges.

Posting on his facebook page Tilgate Councillor Francis Guidera said:

“Yesterday evening I lost one of my best friends to cancer.

We’d been friends since 2006, well before either of us got involved in local politics.

Cllr Charles Petts to most and Jeff to his friends, Jeff was a great guy. A really kind, generous man who lived his Christian faith and smiled at life.

Jeff knew my family really well, knew my kids, knew my mum and dad, and loads of my family. He was a big part of my life.

Whenever I met up with him or whenever he came over to my place (which was very, very regularly) I said the usual “how’s it going?” and he would say “ahk you know, I’m alright, can’t complain”.

Jeff had been battling cancer for a couple of years, and was putting up a great fight, even doing a tough mudder last year, but then very recently, it all changed.

I am heartbroken. I haven’t lost a colleague, I’ve lost a brother, a best friend.

Jeff has left behind a young daughter and a son. I am heartbroken for them too, completely.

I look forward to seeing Jeff in the next life, and until then I will miss him greatly.”

Crawley MP Henry Smith said:

“He was well liked and dedicated and will be a great loss to Crawley.”

Mr Smith also tweeted:

Crawley Conservative Leader Duncan Crow tweeted:

Leader of Crawley Council tweeted:

A statement from Crawley Borough Council said:

“Councillor Charles Petts, ward councillor for Tilgate, died peacefully yesterday evening in St Catherine’s Hospice with his son present.

Charles had been a Crawley Borough Councillor since May and a West Sussex County Councillor for Three Bridges since 2017.”

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Crawley College to reopen following incident

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Crawley College will be beginning a phased reopening to students from tomorrow, Thursday 29 April.

The phased reopening will take place between tomorrow and Tuesday 4 May with full details by courses provided on the college website www.crawley.ac.uk . Students should check details before returning to campus.

The campus has remained closed for the past two days following police investigations into the incident that took place at the college on Monday (26 April).

Vicki Illingworth, Principal of Crawley College, said:

“We are looking forward to welcoming our students and staff back to the college.

“We’d like to reassure everyone, the college is safe and they will be well supported in their return to the campus.

“Sussex Police have confirmed that this is being treated as an isolated incident which is not terror related and nobody else is being sought in connection with the incident.  The individual concerned is in police custody and has been charged.”

“We are now focussed on ensuring we can bring students and staff safely back on site. We’re proud of the service we provide to our students to give them opportunities in education and training.

“I can reassure everyone that this was a one-off incident and we have strategies in place to keep everyone as safe as possible, as well as giving the students the support they need to come back and join us to complete their studies successfully.”

Vicki also echoed her earlier comments, paying tribute to the staff who supported students who were on site during the events of Monday afternoon.

She added:

“I continue to remain full of admiration of our team. They pulled together on Monday and implemented all of the protocols we have in place to keep students safe.

“They’ve continued to work together to support each other and their students over the past couple of days – and they will continue to do so when students return to campus.

“We are also particularly proud of the two members of staff who acted so bravely and swiftly to apprehend the individual before the police arrived. They acted selflessly to protect their students and the college community. They have asked for privacy during this time.

“It was a very intense time for everyone involved.

“The students who were kept inside the college and who were part of the emergency evacuation were supported throughout by our staff and counselling services have been available to them this week. These services will continue to be in place for them to access.

“We’ve continued to be in touch with our students through our support services to check that they are ok and we will resume face-to-face counselling as soon as we can.”

Work is taking place at the college campus to repair some damage which was sustained during the evacuation and subsequent investigations, with teams working hard to ensure the campus is ready for reopening.

The college would like to thank students, staff, the Police and Emergency Services and the wider community for their ongoing support and understanding.

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