Gooodbye Chris Goldfinch - Shopping Centre Manager Retires After 25 Years At Market Place
31st March 2017
Today (Friday) marks the last day in the job for Chris Goldfinch. He's been the manager at Market Place Shopping Centre since day one - a tenure spanning over 25 years.
Before he set off into the sunset like Clint Eastwood, we sat down with one of Burgess Hill's most recognisable faces for a quick-fire Q&A session. Here's what he said....
So, you're retiring! Did you purposefully choose to hold out until the 25th anniversary of the opening of the shopping centre?
The reason I'm retiring is because I don't want to be here when I'm 80! The 25th anniversary had no bearing on my decision. I just decided that it was time to enjoy my own life.
What will you do in your retirement?
I will not be playing Golf or following any sort of sport. I have lots of interests and I wish to actively persue them all!
If you could bring back one shop from the centre's past, which would it be?
Herbert Sports. They were very nice people, one of the first shops here and it was very sad to see their demise.
Can you reveal any big-name retailers that came close to coming to the centre?
Dorothy Perkins. In fact, Tesco were originally going to be the main anchor store for the centre until Waitrose stepped in - and the town has been better for it.
Which celebrities do you know to have passed through the centre in your time?
Patrick Moore, Dame Vera Lynn, Judy parfitt, jamie Theakston, Peter Andre, Jimmy Hill, Gwyneth Powell, Beverly Sisters, Mike Read, Fred Dinenage, Kazenga LuaLua,
What's the most interesting incident that's happened at the centre in your time here which you can remember?
It was when a gentleman drove his Range Rover into the car park, lost control and ended up on top of two other cars. Fortunately no one was injurred, but it was alarming for everyone else involved.
What are some of the more bizarre things you've experienced at the centre?
Going back to the beginning when we had the walkway in the car park, we were horrified to discover that some wag had undone all the bolts on the covered walkway, it could have collapsed and killed somebody.
One Saturday many years ago, Romania At Heart rang up, asking if we'd host a visiting Romanian folk group. We were expecting a small band, but instead, 50 performers arrived who sung, danced, and performed acrobatics! They were dressed in national costume including baggy trousers!
How much pride do you take in that Market Place Shopping Centre is the community focal point in the town centre?
When the centre first opened we only had a handful of shops, so I had to work really hard to bring people into the centre.
I did this by getting the local newsapers on board and connected with various community groups so that people took ownership of the place and realised that it was their shopping centre in their town. We've managed to create a community vibe which is essential for a town of this size.
The town centre is to undergo a big redevelopment, what are your opinions on that?
I think it's absolutely essential that this goes forward. It won't be to everyone's taste, but we need to remember that we are doing it for the generations to come.
What's your biggest achievement?
Loo of the Year 2016 – the highest accolade I've ever received.
What will you miss the most about not coming to the centre every day?
I'm a gregarious person and I'll really miss the interaction with the staff, customers, tenants and the residents of Burgess Hill.
Do you have a parting message?
I'd like to thank Burgess Hill for 25 enjoyable years. Somebody once said 'If you get a job you love, you'll never work another day in your life' and that is totally true.
|Spread the word, Chris Goldfinch is retiring after 25 years as the manager of Market Place Shopping Centre