Sadly I’ve not been able to trace any photos of Peter, who I only knew in passing. However I know he was highly thought of and much loved. I’m grateful to John Holmes, a former colleague for these thoughts. It is important, I believe, to remember those, who were utterly committed to youth work as an open and fluid engagement with young people founded on where they were coming from.
Peter Clason 1934-2016
Peter could be seen as a product of the Albemarle Report of 1959. A student of the National College in Leicester, and then a Youth Leader in Somerset before taking up a lecturing role at Westhill College, Birmingham, where he remained for over 20 years before retiring. Yet Peter was very much an individual, like many youth workers, too individual to be a product of anything. Peter was a talented painter and actor and combined his talents with his professional life. Whilst his knowledge of group work and gestalt psychology gave much to his students so did Peter give much of his time talking to everybody he came into contact with. Tutors, students, cleaners, management at Westhill all got to know Peter, sometimes smoking a cigarette outside Mary Burnie House.
For Peter wanted to see the person beyond the role, whether that was the Principal of Westhill or a student. Maybe the youth worker in him was best demonstrated when he was with young people. The life force in him was clear to see and will be sorely missed by all.