Former Kimberworth couple, Gwendoline and Brian Saville, were inseparable throughout their lives – and will be entwined forever at Wentworth Woodhouse, thanks to the Forge A Link campaign.
The pair met aged 12 at Spurley Hey School and after attending Nurses Training School in Sheffield, Gwen became a midwife and then one of the Queen’s District Nurses, receiving a medal at the Palace for her outstanding long service. Brian was a miner before he went on to train electricians at British Steel and later became a Health and Safety officer.
The couple enjoyed walks in the mansion’s grounds and nearby Greasbrough Dams for most of their lives and loved to catch glimpses of Wentworth Woodhouse. They were intrigued to hear what the mansion’s interior was like when, in 1983, daughter Deb went to study there as a Lady Mabel College Physical Education student, as part of her Special Education Degree.
Deb emigrated to Australia in 1989 and her mum and dad went out to join her in 2005 at the age of 72. After her mum’s death in 2019, Deb discovered through some of her writings that leaving South Yorkshire had been the hardest thing she had ever done. “When dad died in 2022 I just knew I had to bring them home. They loved Australia but their hearts were definitely in Rotherham,” said Deb, who met Australian, Lyndsay Breach, 31 years ago. The couple came back to the UK to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary and to scatter some of Gwen and Brian’s ashes at Elsecar Brook, near the former colliery where Brian had worked.
Deb also wanted a permanent memorial to her parents and when a friend showed her a newspaper article about the Preservation Trust’s Forge A Link Campaign, she signed up. The campaign is the latest fundraising initiative from the charitable trust regenerating the Rotherham stately home. It gives supporters the chance to have their initials hand-stamped onto a 154 metres-long chain being hand-created especially for the mansion’s famed East Front by Ridgeway Forge in Attercliffe. It will replicate one which featured on the 606 feet-long façade for almost two centuries and will continue the restoration of original ironwork features on the East Front.
Around 1,800 links can be stamped with up to three initials in recognition of people who make donations of £50.00 or more. The Forge A Link campaign could bring in £40,000 before it closes at the end of the year.
“Mum and dad’s initials will be on conjoined links on the chain. They are going to be joined forever,” said Deb. “I’ve asked for links close to the centre of the chain on the left-hand side of the driveway. Dad was very gregarious and loved being the centre of attention. But he was also a staunch Labour supporter and Trade Unionist; he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but left of centre!”
For more information on the campaign, click here.