Millionaire benefactor Jack Petchey has YMCA theatre in his name

The man who has given miliions to the youth of of Newham and across east London has been honoured by the “people’s University”.

Retired businessman Jack Petchey has had a lecture theatre at Canning Town’s YMCA George Williams College dedicated in his name.

On Tuesday the college in Freemason’s Road is hosting a ceremony to mark his “invaluable contribution” to them and youth work in particular.

Jack Petchey CBE is known as the 50/50 man - for giving half, after half had been earned from his mainly property deals.

He had spent his business life supporting good causes and when, in 1999, he wanted to regularise his giving he decided to help youth work at grass roots level. His vision was to enable young people to make the most of opportunities and to increase their self esteem.

The Jack Petchey Foundation was founded and over the years it has provided millions of pounds support to more than 2,000 schools, clubs, youth and uniformed organisations that work with young people aged 11-25 in London and Essex and its members.

The dedication of the Lecture Theatre will honour the impact that Jack’s Foundation has had on youth work, said the college which started receiving funding in 2001 and to date it has received �350,000.

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It has, they said, enabled them to remain unique as the only specialist youth work Further and Higher Education College in the UK.

The 86-year-old guest of honour is expected to attend the event.

Mary Wolfe, Principal YMCA George Williams College said “We are proud to celebrate the support we have received from Jack Petchey over many years. Thanks to his interest in our work we have been able to extend our offer of high quality qualifications for local youth workers and making a University education a reality for many.”

The foundation can be found on and can now be followed on Facebook and Twitter visit @JackPetchey