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Graham Penness, 2010
Rushden Ratepayers Association
Graham J Penness age 29

North Ward Councillor since 1964
Frederick F Heald age 44 : Vice-chairman Leicester Area Power Engineers Association & Member of No.6 District Joint Board for the Electricity Supply Industry

Dear Voter,
Three years ago I received your overwhelming support and was duly elected to the local Council as its youngest member.
During this time I have gained valuable experience of local Government by serving on the Highways, Planning, Health, Parks and Housing Committees. Now I ask again for your support so that, I may serve your interests with the knowledge I have gained from my first term of office.
Being a Cost Accountant means that I need to be Cost Conscious all the time and naturally I apply my Industrial experience to matters affecting local expenditure. This means arriving at decisions based on economic facts, not on sentiment or history, for being a member of the Council is not part of a "Social Status" game but the serious business of allocating and spending your money wisely and for the benefit of the whole town.
Following my success in the North Ward in 1964 the Ratepayers Association have this time added the name of Frederick Heald with mine and I am sure you will give us both a repeat of the support you gave to me at the last elections.

Yours sincerely,
Graham J. Penness

Dear Voter,
The Rushden Ratepayers Association has been requested by many of you to increase its representation in the Council Chamber and in view of your unanimous response to their objectives in the past, have accordingly nominated an additional candidate in the forthcoming Elections. It is with pleasure that I have accepted their nomination.
Like my colleague I have always been extremely Cost Conscious, I honestly believe that money should be spent wisely and not in a haphazard way and I firmly believe that by supporting this Association we can exercise considerable influence upon Local Government in this direction.
You ably supported my colleague Graham Penness in the last election, now I ask for your additional support. If elected I shall do my utmost to further the best interests of all the residents of Rushden and in particular those of this ward.

Yours sincerely,
Frederick F. Heald

To All Ratepayers of Rushden
It is said that Vigilance is the price of Liberty. If you substitute the word Economy for Liberty, you will have the motto of the Ratepayers Association. Vigilance, however, is not enough and now we have representation on the Council we want to help shape the decisions which will affect us all.
Being only three in number, our Councillors have had a difficult time in getting some of their proposals adopted; next time we hope it will not be so difficult.
Here are some matters of topical interest with the views of the Association on how they should be tackled.
Rushden Hall
The Council have voted to restore this building at an estimated cost of £23,500. This money will be raised by means of a loan from the Government and the interest on it paid out of the rates; running costs will be paid from the same source. It is unlikely that the Council will get their loan at present and costs are rising all the time.
We would like to see the Council test the strength of public opinion on the wisdom of this project by sponsoring a Public Fund before going to the rates. If the loan is refused they should think again about the whole plan.
Bedford Road Rubbish Tip
The Council are putting aside a penny rate every year (over £5,000 to date) for the purpose of turning this site into a sports ground. The Rugby Football Club want to lease part of it for their exclusive use but the Council are running into trouble with the Ministry of Transport about providing them with a special access. The future of the project is in doubt but the spending goes on.
We want to see this ugly site improved as soon as possible but it will be years before it will be ready for development.
Why not grass it and rent it for grazing so that further expenditure can be halted?
Amenities On New Housing Estates
Thanks to the intervention of a Ratepayers Councillor the Council have speeded up the provision of some services on the Wymington and Home Farn Estates. New Telephone Booths are to be built, a survey is in progress on the need for more Post Boxes and Bus Services to the Estates start in April. The Association will continue to press for the provision of further amenities in these areas.
We hope this sample of our views will interest you; think it over and in the meantime remember that if we are to stay in being as an effective voice for Rushden ratepayers we need your vote on May 6th.

Back in the 1960’s Business Rates charged by the local council were becoming increasingly a burden on small businesses in particular. As a result SID WRIGHT, the owner of Whipple Engineering, a small engineering firm with a factory in Sartoris Road, decided to do something about it.

He called a meeting of like-minded/interested parties/people in the Scout Room on Thursday, March 7th, 1963 and from this meeting the Ratepayers Association was formed. His factory manager, DICK SUTTON, became Chairman and I was appointed Treasurer. I only attended the meeting because my father was Mr Sutton’s neighbour and I went to support them both.

On April 10th, 1963, a full Public Meeting was held at the British Legion Hall and many who attended joined the Association for a small membership fee.

On January 28th, 1964, I, along with ROD GILHOOLEY and DEREK SAVORY (I think!) were selected as candidates to fight for seats on the Rushden Urban District Council at the elections in May 1964 in 3 of the 4 Electoral Wards.

At the Election all 3 of us were elected for a period of 3 years – indeed I was fortunate enough to top the poll in the North Ward – an area where I was born, brought up and worked since 1958. In 1966 I believe we put forward a candidate in the East Ward, but he was not successful.

During the period 1964-1967 we were just 3 of 20 councillors and had little impact on matters, although I believe we did OPPOSE the restoration of Rushden Hall on the grounds of cost to the Rates, not something I would do now!!!

At the 1967 elections the Association tried to expand its Council members by putting forward 2 candidates in each of the 3 Wards, but this failed spectacularly due to block voting by supporters of the Labour and Conservative parties. I lost my seat, as did Derek Savory, I believe, leaving only Rod Gilhooley (I think) as our sole Councillor. I resigned from the Association in September 1967 to become the Chairman of the Rushden Branch of the Save the Children Fund, with whom I remained involved, in different parts of the country until 1998.

As far as I can recall – other readers may be able to help – the Association fizzled out after 1967.

Above is the Election leaflet produced for myself and FRED HEALD for the May 1967 local elections.

Graham Penness, Little Sutton, Cheshire.

The Rushden Echo, 3rd May 1963, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Ratepayers' Aim is 2,000 Members

Membership of Rushden Ratepayers' and Tenants' Association has increased to 320 since the organisation's inception in March. Now, the committee is contemplating an organised system of canvassing which, it is hoped, will realise a total membership of about 2,000.

Mr. H. S. Wright, secretary, told the "Echo" this week: "The committee feel we are doing very well. We do, however, think that we could do much better."

Membership during the past few weeks has grown in ones and twos through people approaching the association and asking to join.

So far there has been no intensive canvassing campaign, but when there is, says Mr. Wright, as many as 500 may join in a week.

Representatives have been seen in the public seats at the two latest meetings of the urban council. Their first objective, printed on the membership forms, is: "To safeguard the interests of the ratepayers and tenants of Rushden."

Another of their objects is eventually to nominate members to stand for election on the council.

To Combine?

There is talk of combining with ratepayers' associations at Wellingborough, Finedon and Kettering, to "safeguard people's interests" in the county council.

Chairman of the association is Mr. R. Sutton, of 36 Oakley Road, a foreman engineer, who said, when trying to form the association: "The local council has got an absolutely free hand. There have been times when it has acted unwisely — and no one has done anything about it."

The association intends to Work in harmony with the council and appreciates the difficulties of councillors and officers.

The Rushden Echo, 3rd June 1966, transcribed by Jim Hollis

‘Sacking’ A Conspiracy – Rushden Ratepayer

Last week a Rushden Ratepayers’ Association councillor was “sacked” from the all-important Finance and General Purposes Committee of Rushden Urban Council. Was it a conspiracy, a complete disregard for democratic principles and an implication that only a handful of councillors are capable of conducting council business?

Mr. R. D. Gilhooley was the sacked councillor and he claims that it was all three of these things. This week the “Echo” attempts to clear the air by giving all three sides a chance to put their views.

Basically the background is this. Ten names were put forward for nine seats on the committee. The meeting was adjourned for the interested parties to come to some mutual agreement.

When it was put to the vote, Mr. Gilhooley’s name was withdrawn from the list, leaving five Socialists and four Conservatives remaining. The vote went 11 – 4 in favour of the proposition, proposed by Mr. A. Allebone (Conservative) and seconded by Mr. C. Faulkner (Labour).

Mr. Allebone said it was important that the finance sub-committee, when dealing with salaries, staff and establishment should have some form of continuity.


Mr. Gilhooley told the “Echo” that the aspect which distressed him most was the “complete disregard for the principles of democracy demonstrated by this action.” He said this year all the places on the committee had been filled by the Party politicians which had meant that he had been virtually sacked. He and his colleagues (there are two other Ratepayers’ Association members) had not accepted the situation and Mr. Gilhooley’s name was still put forward.

“It is sad to know that in the England of John Hampden it is possible for two numerically strong groups (the Socialists and Tories) to conspire to deprive a smaller group (the Ratepayers) of the means to represent adequately the people by whom they are elected,” he said.

“One of the reasons put forward for my elimination was that it was desirable to keep the finance sub-committee in being. This infers that there are only a few members of the council capable of carrying on the functions of the council, and the remaining councillors are some sort of second-rate people who cannot be trusted to act responsibly.

“I resent this implication and I hope that those councillors who are not among the favoured few will be equally resentful.”

Mr. Gilhooley added that he and his colleagues would have to ask a lot of questions in open council to extract information from the chairman of the finance committee. He said perhaps this would be a good thing because the information would be available to the public.

Mr. Faulkner answered all three allegations made by Mr. Gilhooley. He denied strongly that there had been a conspiracy. He pointed out that of the four people who had voted against the proposition, three had been Labour councillors.

“The easiest way round this problem would have been to have changed standing orders to allow ten people on the committee. But if you are going to change standing orders to suit convenience there is no point in having them,” he said.


On the question of the principles of democracy, Mr. Faulkner said democracy could only work if the people wanted it to work. Democracy rested on the decision taken by the majority, and Mr. Gilhooley’s name had been withdrawn on a majority decision and he should accept it.

Finally on the implication that only a handful of people could carry on the work of council, Mr. Faulkner said this was not true.

He stressed the importance of the finance committee’s work and how important it was to have some form of continuity which had to be worked within the limits of a three-year cycle (the whole council comes up for election every third year).

The committee had to deal with interest rates on temporary loans and they could change daily, and there was also a general programming down of temporary loans in favour of loans from the public works loan board.

No Reason

“I cannot see where Mr. Gilhooley has any reason to complain. He has served on the committee for two years. He served on the committee in his first year as a councillor, something which has never happened before,” said Mr. Faulkner.

Mr. Allebone said he was not the council’s official Conservative spokesman and he was not prepared to make any comments – except where it was claimed that he had inferred that only a few people were able to run the council.

“I feel very strongly about having continuity on the committee, particularly when dealing with staff wages, salaries and establishment. By up grading a position to solve a problem in one department it is quite possible to create ten more problems in other departments,” he said.

The Rushden Echo, 14th April 1967, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Ratepayers could cause poll shocks

Who will have overall political control of Rushden Urban Council after the by election? It is anybody’s guess and this election could provide the biggest shock in years with a major “shift” in power.

The big shock could come from Rushden Ratepayers’ Association candidates, who surprised many people by getting three representatives elected for the first time at the last election.

This year they will have at least seven candidates. Not enough to gain overall control of the 20-seat council, but enough to give them the swaying vote.

Out to stop them will be the two major parties, the Conservatives and the Socialists. Both will be trying to add to their present representation and although nomination day is not until April 2, even at this stage they have enough candidates in the field to gain overall control.

At the moment, the council is made up of ten Labour members, Seven Conservatives and three Ratepayers.

The Labour Party has the disadvantage of starting with one retiring member, Mr. Ralph Griffiths, a councillor for 15 years, not seeking re-election, an almost certain seat for them if he had. However, at this stage it already has 12 candidates, nine of them retiring members.

The Conservatives will have all seven of their retiring members seeking re-election plus five more, although one has yet to confirm that he will be standing as a Conservative.

Most interest will be centred on the North Ward, which could be thrown wide open by Mr. Griffiths’s decision not to stand.

Including Mr. Griffiths, the current representation is two Socialists, two Conservatives and a Ratepayer, making his first appearance in the elections three years ago, topped the poll.

With Mr. Griffiths out of the running, the Ratepayers will obviously feel confident at gaining at least one seat in this ward.

The other ward which could provide excitement is South Ward, represented by four Conservatives and a Ratepayer. Once again a ratepayer was elected at the last election at his first attempt.

All four retiring Conservatives will be seeking re-election and so will the Ratepayer, but he will be joined by another candidate. Labour is also trying for a gain against the Tories in this ward with two candidates.

Labour’s ace in the hole is the East Ward, where all five seats are held by Labour candidates who will be seeking re-election. In this ward Labour have everything to lose and nothing to gain.

The Conservatives will be fighting this ward with two candidates and the Ratepayers have entered one. A loss here for labour would prove a major setback. Results in this ward could even be of interest to the national Labour Party.

West Ward is at present represented by three Labour members, who will all be seeking re-election, a Conservative, who is seeking re-election, and a Ratepayer, who is also seeking re-election.

However, the Conservative will be making a strong attack on this ward, with two additional candidates, and the Ratepayers are also trying for another seat in addition to the one they hold.

The ward line-ups so far read:


Mr. Alan Allebone, 264 Wellingborough Road (C), former Chairman of the Council, first elected in 1955.

Mr. Alan Henry Edge, 24 Portland Road (L), school teacher, with a keen interest in youth work.

Mrs. Gladys Marriott, 297 Wellingborough Road (C), former Chairman of the Council, first elected in 1952.

Mr. Alan Goulsbra, Lloyds Bank Chambers, High Street, bank manager, a former councillor who was defeated at the last elections. He was not available to comment on which party he would be standing for.

Mr. Frederick Heald, 14 Purvis Road (RP), making his first bid for a council seat.

Mr. Graham Penness, 23 Church Hall Road (RP), cost accountant, who won his seat three years ago.

Mr. John Ernest Wills, 25 Pemberton Street (L), councillor for 15 years, and has served on all the major committees.


Mr. Herbert William Catlin, 34 Wymington Road (C), headmaster of Rushden Secondary Boys’ School, and chairman of the Public Health committee.

Mr. Cyril Freeman, 109 Wellingborough Road (C), Rushden garage proprietor, first elected in 1954, former Chairman of the Council and chairman of Rushden and Higham Water Board.

Mr. Roderick D. Gilhooley, 50 Park Road (RP), retired RAF Fl. Lt. and now shop owner, first elected in 1964.

Mr. Denis B. Hunting, 1 Cedar Close (L), employed at Unilever Research Establishment, Sharnbrook, Vice-chairman of Rushden Labour Party.

Mr. Eric A. Jenkins, 19a Griffith Street (L), school teacher, with special interests in libraries, education, road safety and child welfare.

Mr. Ernest Newell, 309 Wellingborough Road (C), company secretary. Former chairman of the council and first elected in 1949.

Mrs Audrey Perkins, 98 Wymington Road (C), housewife. She is the present chairman of the council and has wide interests particularly Rushden WRVS.

Mr. Gordon Shipman, 146 Wymington Road (RP), a representative, who is standing for the first time. He has a keen interest in education.


Mrs. Elsie Maye Dicks, 10 Queen Street (L), housewife, elected to the council last year. Closely associated with NUBSO, and member of the Senior Citizens’ Committee.

Mr. Cyril George Faulkner, 1 King’s Road (L), political agent. Twice chairman of Rushden council and with thirty years local government service. First elected to Rushden council in 1949.

Mr. Charles Ginns, Sunnydene, Lawton Road (L), a former chairman of the council and a member for 15 years. Local member of the Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Social Security.

Mr. David Hamblin, The Mount, Victoria Road (C), garage proprietor. This will be his fifth attempt to gain a seat on the council. Chairman of the ward Conservative Party.

Mr. Graham V. R. Hooton, 181 Queen Street (L), chairman of the Rushden Labour Party and keen youth worker. Member for three years.

Mr. Herbert H. Lumbers, 181 St. Margaret’s Avenue (C), a former member of the council who was defeated three years ago.

Mrs. Violet K. Perkins, 119 Park Road (RP), housewife, who is making her first election appearance. She is keen on Social work.

Mrs. Ada Swart, 120 Newton Road (L), housewife, who was first elected in 1964. Keenly interested in education, she is active in the WEA movement and is governor of three schools.


Mr. Frank Brown, 262 Wellingborough Road (C), former chairman and “father” of the council. He was first elected in 1946. One of the most experienced candidates in the field.

Mr. W (Bill) Clarke, 31 Upper Park Avenue (C), who is well-known as chairman of Rushden Amateur Operatic Society. This is not his first attempt to become a councillor.

Mr. Rodney H. S. Greenwood, 25 St. James Close (L), who will be next year’s chairman if re-elected, in addition to his local government work is well-known as an angler.

Mr. Ralph H. Marriott, 64 Moor Road (L), first elected in 1958, and is a former chairman of the Parks, Public Health and Allotments Committees.

Mr. Edward Rowthorn, 22 Birchall Road (RP), who is making his first council election campaign. He works at the Royal Aircraft Establishment in Bedfordshire.

Mr. Arthur Sands, 20 Hillary Road (C), a representative of the British Boot and Shoe Machinery Company. A former regular soldier, this is his first attempt to seek election.

Mr. Derek Savory, 18 Blenheim Close (RP), a bank clerk, who was first elected three years ago, when he made a last-minute entry into the elections.

Mrs Doris Shrive, 131 Westfield Avenue (L), a former chairman of the council with a keen interest in road safety and infant welfare.

L – denotes Labour, C – Conservative, RP – Ratepayer.

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