The story of CHAIN 1977 -2012

by Ron Rowlands

The Fry Bequest

In 1985 CHAIN received a generous bequest. It was left to the organisation by Charles and Ada Fry, close friends of two CHAIN stalwarts, Dennis and Barbara Simmonds.

CHAIN’s management committee were notified of the bequest at their management committee meeting in May 1985 and at their next meeting on 3rd July agreed that the initial payment of £6000 should be placed in a separate deposit account pending a decision on its use. (The final total was a little over the £6900).  Treasurer, R.F.(Bob) Scott, sought advice from a broker on appropriate investment and for over a decade the money was in gilt edged Treasury stock yielding  between 8% and 10% and for a short period as much as 16%.  Bob also established early on that receipt of the bequest if set aside for specific use would not affect any claims for assistance made to the local authorities.

The arrival of the bequest was made public by a short article in CHAIN MAIL No 14 1986.  It read:-


It is fairly public knowledge that CHAIN received a very generous bequest from the Estate of a Mr. Fry, Further distribution may be available when the estate is finally settled.  On broker’s advice this £6000 has been invested in a gilt edged stock to bring in an annual income of £613.  It is the committee’s intention that this annual income shall be used each year for a specific purpose and any suggestions for worthwhile projects will be considered.

The committee has already decided to use some of the first year’s interest for the provision of a wheelchair, to be available from the Health Visitor’s office for temporary loan to the elderly in case of need.

R.F. Scott     Tel. 83995

There is no record of any response to the CHAIN MAIL request for suggestions on use of the money for worthwhile projects but there was regular discussion at committee meetings and agreement that the income should be used mainly, but not exclusively, to benefit the youth in the town.  This was fairly easy to achieve in the very early years but later on finding suitable beneficiaries tended to be more difficult and there was usually money available to meet any suitable requests.  In 1988 £1115 was available and there was £1690 in January 2005; it is pleasing to record that as at 31st March 2012 the amount available was down to just £60.

Early grants from the Fry bequest were:-

Wheelchair for Health visitor’s office  £240
Hungerford Play Group      –       £150
Nursery school garden project      –       £150
For running expenses   John O’ Gaunt minibus      –       £300
Standard and Union flags Hungerford Girl Guides    –       £20

Over the twenty five years since the Fry bequest was received, the interest has been between £8000 and £9000.  The following is not a complete list of grants but it gives an indication of how CHAIN has spent the money entrusted to it.

Morley lunches £250
Rotary Youth Leadership awards (3 youngsters incl. 1 x disabled) £890
Families in need (2005) £450
Setting up Citizens’ Advice Bureaux (CAB) office £300
Printing CHAIN questionnaire £110
Hiring of canoe instructors    ?
Speaker on drugs JOG school £100
Towards Croft Field project £500
Town Band (2 tenor horns for two young people £300
Printing Information sheets         £250      and     £170
Cover for primary school pool     £250
Further help – setting up CAB    Office   ** £500 **
Primary School – towards school tri   £150
Trip to Poland JOG Centre                     £500
Help for two children to go on Youth group trip to Holland £500

As at 2012, the bequest capital was still intact.  Of course inflation has to be taken into account and the 2012 value is much less than half of what it was originally.  However, given the range of expenditure over the years, the Trustees (the CHAIN management committee) have to be commended for their stewardship of the fund.

**   Funded:-

     Town Council £500, CAB £500, CHAIN £500 and Charles Lucas, Marshall £200