|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.