Childhood sweethearts' forever link to stately home
Kimberworth couple Gwendoline and Brian Saville were inseparable throughout their lives and will be entwined forever at the Grade I-listed country house via its 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 training electricians at British Steel and later become a Health and Safety officer.
The couple enjoyed walks in the mansion’s grounds and nearby Greasbrough Dams and were intrigued to hear what the house's interior was like when, in 1983, daughter Deb went to study there as a Lady Mabel College Physical Education student.
Deb emigrated to Australia in 1989 and her mum and dad went out to join her in 2005, aged 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, ” said Deb, who met Australian Lindsay Breach 31 years ago.
“They loved Australia but their hearts were definitely in Rotherham.”
Deb and Lindsay returned to the UK to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary and scatter some of Gwen and Brian’s ashes at Elsecar Brook.
But Deb also wanted a permanent memorial to her parents and signed up to the Preservation Trust’s Forge A Link Campaign, the latest fundraising initiative from the charitable trust regenerating the stately home.
Supporters making donations of £50 or more can have initials hand-stamped onto a 154-metre chain being hand-created especially for the mansion’s East Front by Ridgeway Forge in Attercliffe , which will replicate one which featured on the facade for almost two centuries.
“Mum and dad’s initials will be on conjoined links on the chain – they are going to be joined forever,” said Deb.