Tributes to Chichester man who helped the homeless

A Charlton man who helped save thousands of people sleeping rough on the streets has died after battling with cancer.

Praise has been heaped on Tony Denison, who set up the Construction Industry Relief and Assistance for the Single Homeless (CRASH). He died on April 10, aged 89.

His wife, Dr Ann Nugent Denison, said he was ‘the most perfect husband in the whole world’.

“He truly was a wonderful man. Very hardworking, very imaginative,” she said. “He thought about things that people took for granted.

“He was also funny and quirky. When I got home from work he used to put a glass of wine in my hand and tell me that supper was ready. He was very loved by his three daughters and four grand children.”

Mrs Denison has also revealed her husband had been very ‘driven’ in creating an initiative which could benefit dance students at the University of Chichester, where she currently lectures.

Mr Denison’s daughter Jassy said: “My dad was a very single-minded person and had a strong will. He was at his happiest when he moved to West Sussex.”

She added: “He was very silly with the children, which I always appreciated. In some ways he never grew up.”

Mr Denison was given an MBE for his work with CRASH, which he founded in 1991. He wanted to channel the benevolence, expertise and supply chains of the property and construction industry to help homelessness projects.

He spoke to a few contacts he had made in the voluntary sector while running Housing and Construction Research Associates to find out what help was urgently required, and followed this up with calls to construction company bosses.

A few weeks after dreaming up the idea for the charity while on the way to a ballet gala, two cold-weather shelters for rough sleepers opened in central London. With support from Patrick Barbour and John George, Tony’s work for CRASH has helped to save thousands of homeless and vulnerable people sleeping on the streets all over the UK.

He stepped down as a CRASH trustee in 2002 but continued his charitable work with Stonepillow.