A manager of a drugs rehabilitation centre has spoken of his surprise in scooping a cash prize which enabled a £67,000 refit to take place.

Mark Ereira-Guyer, appeals manager at the Open Road centre, in Wellesley Road, Clacton, said he had not been optimistic about their chances when competing for cash on the ITV show, The People’s Millions.

“We didn’t think we would win. I wasn’t the most optimistic about it.

“We were up against another local charity which deals with elderly people and I thought, ‘this could be difficult’,” he said, at the centre’s reopening ceremony on Friday.

Open Road eventually won almost £49,000 of Big Lottery Fund money from the show, after gaining 2,305 votes in support of its work from viewers.

“It was 24 hours of thinking ‘no’, and then they phoned the next day and said: ‘You have won’.

The centre, which deals with drug and alcohol abusers, has been completely redecorated with the cash.

The needle exchange area has been moved from a small room behind the centre’s kitchen to a separate area outside, and three new counselling rooms were also created.

The work has taken nine months to complete, with builders still finishing the paintwork the day before the opening ceremony.

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