The story of CHAIN 1977 -2012

by Ron Rowlands

The History of CHAIN – 1977 to 2012

Appendix  –  The Volunteers 

The success of CHAIN has been due to the many volunteers who have been prepared to devote their time and energy to help others. All CHAIN volunteers deserve a mention and this appendix attempts to do that.


  1. The names of many drivers, office staff and links do not appear, simply because records do not exist. This is regrettable because volunteers in these categories have been, and are, essential to the service provided for the last thirty three years by the organisation and are likely to be well into the future.
  2. Among the many volunteers there are those who deserve more than just a mention by name. Those who have held ‘Key Posts’ and / or those who have been involved over, say, more than a decade, those  who have been  outstanding contributors and the many organisers.  Deciding who to include in this group has been difficult as the author’s involvement only started in 2000 and written records rarely record more than just the names of post holders.  It follows that some of those who should have been included as key players have been missed off.  This is entirely the fault of the author.  Should any reader know of anyone who should have been mentioned as a key player they should please let the Chairman of CHAIN know.
  3. Also it should be noted that many volunteers did more than one job, e.g. a chairman or past chairman could be a driver or a link and so on.


Bill  Acworth           Sue  Acworth           Revd Richard Kingsbury

Angela  Pomroy       Robin  Kellow         Sheila  Wilson

Steering  Committee

 Bill  Acworth (Chairman)                          Robin  Kellow               Jim  Kerley

Barbara Simmonds  (Secretary)                Colin Graham              Sue Acworth

R (Bobby) Winser  (Treasurer)                   Mary Talbot                  John Wilson

Kate  Little                Tom Bailey                  Richard  Kingsbury     Angela Pomroy

Anne Honeybone     Colin Clare                Sheila Wilson

 First  Management  Committee

Bill Acworth  (Chairman) Bobby Winser (Treasurer)
Barbara Simmonds  (Secretary) John Wilson (Office Manager)
Angela Pomroy  (Links Organiser) Richard  Kingsbury

Interviewers and Enumerators  –  1983 Survey of over 60s

Dee Anderson                             Penny Burfield                            Chris Buck

June Blakeway                             Ruby  Brooks                              Shirley Bruce

Betty Clark                                    Rita Courthold                            Sally Cryer

Phyllis Davis                                 Joan Eden                                     Mrs Field

Liz Gash                                        Ann Gresham Cooke                   Mavis Hassall

John Kendall                                 Alfred Kew                                   Maria Morley

Margaret Nicol                              May North                                     Esme Parker

Lois Pihlens                                    Hazel Ralph                                  Marilyn Reed

Barbara  Simmonds                      Dennis Simmonds                       Grace Smith

Julie Smith                                      Margaret Steer                              Mary Talbot

Beryl Tarry                                       Ivy Wells                                      Margaret Williams

Colette Wilson

Key  Players

Bill  Acworth   The credit for starting CHAIN goes to Bill.  He convened the exploratory meeting, and chaired both the public meeting and the steering committee.  Bill was also the first chairman of the Management committee from 1977 to 1981.  After a short break, Bill was asked in 1985 to return as chairman and agreed on the understanding that he would not be as ‘hands on’ as previously.  This role suited Bill well as he was (still is) an ideas man, an excellent motivator but not an administrator. His lack of punctuality is legendary!  In all his activities Bill could rely on the strong support of his wife,

Sue Acworth.  Another of the ‘originals’

Bobby Winser Although not one of the original six, Bobbie attended the public meeting and was appointed to the steering committee.  He was CHAIN’s first treasurer but was much more than that.  He produced the draft organisation plan, the first draft constitution, the first draft budget and many policy documents for the committee’s consideration.  After relinquishing treasurership he remained on the management committee, and was also very active starting CHAIN’s Luncheon Club

Angela Pomroy   Another of the gang of six, Angela was responsible for the setting up of the ‘Links organisation’ recruiting about a hundred volunteers to be CHAIN’s eyes and ears in the community.  Angela was also a strong contributor to CHAIN’s general development.

Barbara Simmonds   Barbara was secretary of the steering committee and of the management committee for the first three years.  She was also involved in many other ways, particularly as a volunteer in the office.  Sadly Barbara died in 2009 but she was still on the office rota until ill health meant she had to retire.  Dennis Simmonds  was also very active  over thirty or so years, not only as a great support for Barbara but also’ controller’ of transport i.e. for the Handybus and the chairman vehicles and generally as CHAIN’s  odd job man.

Richard Kingsbury and Robin Kellow  Both founders. i.e. members of the original group of six.  Both instrumental in recruiting volunteers and generally supporting the early activities.  On retirement, Richard moved with wife Angela to Yorkshire.  Robin has continued as a strong supporter having served for a period on the management committee and still helping with CHAIN lunches from time to time.

Margaret Steer   Another volunteer early on the scene.  She was not on the management committee at the outset but was involved in all the setting up arrangements including being one of two 0ffice staff manning the office on an experimental basis on Friday evenings.  Margaret later joined the management committee as links coordinator for a few years and did not ‘retire’ from CHAIN until 2008 when she gave up distribution of some 4/500 copies of CHAIN MAIL every quarter.  Over 30 years of valuable service.

Betty Grant  It was 1988 when Betty was asked if she would join the  management committee specifically to take over the running of the CHAIN office .  She said yes and with an excellent record as an organiser and of helping people she soon made an impact.  She became CHAIN’s main contact with the community of Hungerford and for 14 years was the guiding force for many of CHAIN’s activities In recognition of her devotion and commitment The Rotary Club of Hungerford made Betty a ‘Paul Harris Fellow’, Rotary’s highest award for service to the community.  Betty gave up as office manager in 2002 but stayed on the management committee.  She still (in 2010) coordinates the Handybus visits to the Swindon hydrotherapy pool.  22 years of outstanding service

George Halliday  (Betty Grant’s partner), George, another one with service of over twenty years was not only Betty’s support and assistant but also a driver extraordinary. No journey at what time or distance or inconvenience was too much for George and he has helped very many many people over the years.

Ruth and Eileen Barnes.  There have been many excellent CHAIN drivers as well as George Halliday.  Ruth and Eileen were two other outstanding ones and requests for help were invariably accepted by one or other of them.  Both served for many years until they moved away from the area in 2009.

 Kathleen Walker  Another long standing volunteer, Kathleen became involved in CHAIN almost from the time she moved to Hungerford.  Her major input was running the CHAIN lunch club for 13 years but she was (and still is in 2012) also an area CHAIN MAIL distributor and works in the office from time to time.

Mary & Bill Abbott   Husband and wife teams as contributors to CHAIN were not uncommon.  Mary and Bill were a long serving couple, Mary being a stalwart in the office and Bill as a very willing driver.  The same can be said of Sylvia and Fred Whitby also very long serving.