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Hotel owner who welcomed homeless shocked by worldwide publicity

By Nick Humphreys | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

A hotel manager who opened his doors to keep homeless people off the streets during the coronavirus pandemic has been surprised by worldwide publicity.

Mike Matthews (back row, centre) with staff at the Prince Rupert, and front row some of the homeless people he has taken in as guests

Mike Matthews, owner of the Prince Rupert Hotel in Butcher Row, welcomed 25 of the town's most vulnerable residents to give them a save haven during the crisis.

The story was read and watched across the world, and it came as a shock to Mike, who is also chairman of Shrewsbury BID.

He said: “It was never our intention to seek publicity for this, in actual fact we actively tried to discourage it initially. We never expected things to take off like they have.

“Our number one priority is to provide safe accommodation for the people here, and we are now working with Shropshire Council and the relevant organisations to try to find a longer-term solution for every one of them.

“But in the meantime, we hope the positive publicity it has brought to Shrewsbury will be of benefit to the town.

“Everyone is going to need a helping hand as we work our way through this crisis, and we will need to work together as a community to put Shrewsbury on the map as a tourist destination.

“If we have helped to demonstrate that we are a welcoming, friendly place with warm, caring people, then that can only be a good thing.”

Seb Slater, executive director of Shrewsbury BID, said other businesses had been inspired by the generosity of the team at the Prince Rupert Hotel.

“These are very tough times for all businesses, and we have been working hard to support our members as we move into the next phase of the recovery,” he said.

“The generous and caring attitude of Mike and his team at the Prince Rupert has been an inspiration to us all, and it’s been wonderful to see the story spreading around the globe and putting Shrewsbury on the international stage.”

Nick Humphreys

By Nick Humphreys
Senior Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Shrewsbury.

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