Roll of Honour

Over the years, the credit union movement has benefited from countless people’s hard work and endeavour. Our roll of honour celebrates the lives of those no longer with us, and the work they contributed to the movement.

Herbert Mullen 1924-1987

A painter-decorator Bert Mullen learned through reports in Irish newspapers of the credit union movement and the impact it had made on families and communities. He realised that it could work in Scotland and, in particular as the Treasurer for the Drumchapel community where he and his young family lived. Bert was the founding father of the Scottish credit union movement. He was a director of the Credit Union league of Great Britain now known as ABCUL. Bert was involved in the Strathclyde chapter for many years. The Country owes a mountain of gratitude to Bert and he is sadly missed within the Credit Union Movement.


John Dorman who was an avid worker for the Credit Union Movement passed away in August 1992. He was a founder member and treasurer of Dalmuir Credit Union with his wife Rose

Over many years he helped in the setting up of other Credit Unions in Scotland He was involved in the Strathclyde Chapter and a familiar face at every ABCUL AGM. John devoted most of the last fifteen years of his life to promote the Credit Union Movement in Scotland.

Bill Murphy 1918 – 1999

Bill Murphy

Bill Murphy was a pioneer of the credit union movement in the United Kingdom. He was one of the founders of Mossend & district Credit Union Lanarkshire in 1972. He first heard about Credit Unions in the 1940s. Two to of his brothers returned on holiday from Canada and told him they could only afford the trip because of a loan they had from their local Credit Union in Canada. Bill thought this was a great idea and set about learning more. He made contact with the North American credit union movement and the Irish League of credit unions. In 1978 he was elected to the board of the Credit Union league of Great Britain. He had various positions in the league such as secretary, treasurer and in 1981 he was elected Vice President of the league. The Pope presented him with a Benemerenti Medal, in recognition of his work for the community.

Rose Dorman 1930-2006

Born: 27 November 1930, in Dalmuir, Dunbartonshire. Died: 14 January 2006, in Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, aged 75. ROSE Dorman discovered credit unions in the 1970s, and her efforts on her native Clydeside created Dalmuir Credit Union in 1977 with her Husband John. Rose recognised credit unions as a means of alleviating and eliminating poverty.Her efforts both taught people how to save, and how to manage their money better. Rose was secretary, treasurer and president of the credit union, retaining the last position until her death, and quickly became involved in the national and international credit union movement. Rose was awarded an MBE in 1998 and later the World Council of Credit Union’s distinguished service award.

More about Rose HERE

Helen McSevney 1923-2007

On Monday 20th August 2007 Helen McSevney along with her late husband Archie founded Drumchapel Credit Union sadly she passed away peacefully. They spent a lot of their own time researching the Credit Union movement.  Their home became the venue for volunteers and members conducting the various task required in the credit union. Being pioneers for the movement in Scotland along with Bert Mullen they sought and attended training sessions with others from Yorkshire who had begun in the mid and late sixty’s. Helen received an MBE from the Queen for her services to the credit union movement

More About Helen HERE

John Kerr 1937-2009

John Kerr, founded the Cranhill Credit Union. He died in hospital on Sunday morning. He and Ellen set up the, Cranhill Credit Union in 1976, establishing the business in their front room with just 13 members. The credit union flourished over the years and went on to help hundreds of people and generate millions of pounds in the area. John was also one of the founding members of the Scottish League of Credit Unions, an organisation determined to combat poverty and loosen the grip of loan sharks. Ellen passed away three years before John after a battle with lung cancer. The couple had been together for 51years leaving five daughters, three sons, and also, grandparents of nine and great-grandparents to one-year-old Eva.

More about John HERE

Alan Thorpe 1930-2010




More about Alan HERE

Nora Davies 1926 -2013

Nora Davies was not a founder member of Beswick and Openshaw Credit Union. It was a difficult start and the idea was nearly abended. Nora did not allow this to happen and worked hard to keep it going. In the 90’s Nora sought funding and after a time was able to eventually employ a manager for the business. Nora was a member of Greater Manchester Chapter and played a roll in directing other credit unions to funding streams. The credit union expanded under Nora’s become East Manchester Credit Union and eventually Manchester Credit union. 2007 was when she was compelled to retire from the credit union as her health was failing. She arrived back in 2012 for the 21st celebrations at Manchester’s Town Hall and received the Credit Union Pioneer award. Sadly, missed but not forgotten.

More about Nora HERE

Ann Steel 1952-2014

Ann passed away on the morning of Sunday, 10th August at her home in Great Sankey, Warrington. A passionate credit union activist and NACUW stalwart for many years, Ann Steel was appointed Company Secretary in July 2010 having previously been a NACUW Director and, before that, a member of the NACUW training team. Her main interest and contribution to the work of NACUW, was the support and development of consultancy and training. Specifically, Ann undertook an extensive training needs analysis of the credit union sector to identify training needs for the new NACUW financial inclusion training programme. Her experience and skills were particularly invaluable when funding programmes and applications were developed.

Bill Hudson, NACUW Chair, said: “Ann was a highly respected and valued member of the Board who gave many years of unselfish voluntary support to NACUW. News of Ann’s passing has come as a massive shock both individually and collectively. She will be sadly missed by all of us.

Blair Greaves 1937-2013

Blair served on the Board of Directors of Hornsey co-operative Credit Union for all of the 50 years and was President for over 25 years. This was Britain’s first credit union, formed in 1962 by a group of new immigrants from the West Indies, because there had been a lack of financial services for people new to the country.

Over time the credit union, that remained close to its roots in the Ferme Baptist church, grew and even bought a property in Drylands Road, Hornsey, which became a meeting place: a vibrant community center, bar and registered office. Hornsey Credit Union in 2013 has now merged with London Capital Credit Union.

“There’s a saying that from small acorns mighty oaks grow. Hornsey Co-operative Credit Union was the acorn for the British credit union movement,” and Elaine Blairs daughter follows in his footsteps as a Director of the now London Capital Credit Union. 

June Smith 1952 to 2013

June became involved in credit unions towards the end of the 1980s. A group of local volunteers, she pioneered the setting up of West End Credit Union, which operated in an area of high social and economic deprivation in Tameside, and she served on its board of directors for several years. She was a prime mover in the creation of Dukinfield Credit Union, established to serve the town where she and Chris lived. June was a leading light and promoter of the Greater Manchester Chapter, and its chair. In those days, the Chapter played a major role in training provision and in embedding credit union ideals and principles in the hundreds of volunteers now engaged in the movement. June was a major player in developing the Credit Union for Tameside Employees, now Cashbox, where she was the part-time manager for two years, both up to and consequent to its registration. In 1998, she became the full-time manager of Moneyspinner Credit Union, which had been created through the merger of Hattersley and Dukinfield credit unions. June remained as manager of Moneyspinner Credit Union until the onset of her illness in 2006. In October 2012, Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, at Manchester Town Hall, on behalf of Manchester Credit Union, presented June with a lifetime achievement award as a pioneer of the credit union movement in Greater Manchester. We will never forget the impact June had through her work in credit unions on the lives of thousands of people throughout Greater Manchester.

More about June HERE

Brian Rees 1938 – 2015

President of Bridgend Lifesavers Credit Union

Brian made an enormous contribution not just to the credit union movement but also the Co-operative movement as well.

He was involved with credit unions for more than 20 years.  He was a founder director and secretary of Bridgend Lifesavers Credit Union (BLSCU) and served as President for many years.

He served on the ABCUL Board from 2000 to 2009 and continued to contribute to national work after that time – including a major review of the democracy of the Association.

The credit union movement in Bridgend, across Wales is stronger thanks to Brian’s hard work and commitment,

Mr Kirit Patel 1949 to November 2015

Treasurer of NFRN Credit Union LtdKirit Patel served as a Director of NFRN Credit Union and as an Officer of ABCUL’s London and South East Forum until his death in November 2015.

Kirit was always known to have been a very diligent, hardworking and reliable member of the NFRN and NFRN Credit Union.

In memory of Kirit, an award for Outstanding Contribution to an ABCUL Forum was supported by the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, the NFRN Credit Union and ABCUL’s London and South East Forum.

The award is to be presented via nominations from the forums to people who have made a significant positive difference for credit unions through their local ABCUL Forum by 31 January 2017.

Lord Roper 1935 to 2016

Lord Roper, the pioneer of British credits union legislation, who has died at the age of 80.

In May 1972, when he was the Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Farnworth in Greater Manchester, John Roper sought to introduce a Private Member’s Bill “to make provision for the registration, incorporation and administration of credit unions by applying with modifications and amendments the provisions of the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1965 – 1968 to them.”

Lord Roper played a crucial role in putting credit unions on the British legislative agenda. Having caught the ‘credit union bug’ as a student in the USA, he was a passionate advocate for the sector and a true friend to the movement for many years. He will be fondly remembered for his contribution to the history and development of Britain’s credit unions.”

More about Lord Roper HERE

Julian Waldron 1958 – 2016

Julian Waldronwas a key founder of Metro Rochdale Employees Credit Union, later to become Metro Moneywise. He began the roll of secretary back in 1987 as member No. 3. He was also a voice for Kirkholt Credit Union from around that time. Julian served as the secretary for many years and Director.  A lot of the history and documents of Metro Moneywise Julian had saved and are on the Credit Union’s History page. Julian always saw the value in credit unions working together, and so he helped set up the Greater Manchester Chapter (now the ABCUL North West Forum) and also served as its secretary. He was a key organiser of the Chapter’s training, education and development programme, including the first weekend school in Blackpool in 1993. Julian will be sadly missed by many in the movement.

More about Julian HERE

Dr Andrew Wakefield 2016

CroydonPlus Credit Union Chair Rev Dr Andrew Wakefield passed away on Wednesday, October 26. He was vicar of St Andrew’s in Herbert Road a well-known figure in the Merton community and had recently been made an honorary doctor of divinity from the University of Roehampton for his 30 years of service to the borough. His personal commitment had encouraged and inspired many local people to change their communities for the better. In recent years Andrew played a key role in leading the credit union.  He was well respected by everyone who knew him and he always gave comfort to those who needed it in times of crisis. He will be sadly missed. 

Lou Gildea 2018

Lou Gildea on the 14/12/2017 passed away peacefully.  Lou and his wife Mary were the founder members of Nelson Community Credit Union. Lou was President for the first 21 years and remained a director for a further four years. He continued to keep attending board meetings until his health deteriorated in 2016.

Lou had worked as a Credit Union Developer for Burnley Borough Council until his retirement and helped set up local credit unions.

To all, in the now Pennine Community Credit Union he was an inspirational man who worked tirelessly for Credit Unions, setting strong foundations to build on and was well respected in the credit union movement. He was awarded the Pioneer Award at the ABCUL Conference in 2014.  He was extremely proud to receive the award. Without Lou and Mary, the Pennine credit union we have today would not exist.

More about Lou HERE

Mary Gildea 2018

Unfortunately, only two and half months after Lou died, his wife Mary Gildea passed away on the morning of the 5th February 2018. Mary as the first Treasurer a position she held for 20 years and Lou as President lead Nelson Credit Union through many years of development, working all hours and showing total dedication and commitment, developing a strong base on which Nelson Community Credit Union, then Pendle Community Credit Union in 2005 and latterly Pennine Community Credit Union in 2012 have flourished. Both Mary and Lou were pioneers of not just Nelson credit union but North West Credit Unions in general. Their contribution can never and should never be under estimated. They were a devoted couple who had been married for over 60 years and rarely spending time apart. It hardly seemed right that one was left without the other. It is comforting to know they are back holding hands together. There will always be a special place in what is now Pennine community credit union for Lou and Mary.

More about Mary HERE

Jeff Hopkins 1943 2018

Farewell to Jeff Hopkins the sad news of the passing away of long time ACE member and former ACE Director Jeff from Saveeasy Credit Union in Llanelli, at the age of 75. ACE Director. The credit union movement generally had lost an inimitable character in Jeff and that the ACE Board was asking members permission at the 20 to rename the ACE Conference Bursary Fund the “Hoppy Fund” (Hoppy being his nickname at school). This suggestion was accepted by the AGM delegates

Denzil Davies MP October 1938-October 2018

It was with great regret that the Members, Board and Staff of Saveeasy Credit Union learnt of the death of their President. In the Credit Union world, he was best known for being the MP who led the Credit Union Act 1979, through Parliament in the late 1970s, a cause he felt strongly about and one which he continued to champion after his time in Westminster. He stood down as an MP in 2005.

Peter Kelly 1951 – Oct 2020

It is with Great sadness that Peter passed away after a short illness who many in the credit union movement of Greater Manchester knew. An Active member of the Chapter in those early years. He also served a number of credit unions over thirty years. Peter as Finance manager of Unify Credit Union was the epitome of everything that Unify stood for and was highly respected and loved by all. The credit union family will never forget him or the contribution he made to not only Unify credit union but many across the country. Peter had an amazing sense of humour and fun and brought a smile to our faces every day.

Our thoughts are with his wife Diane and their family at this very sad time. They broke the mould when they made Peter. Rest in Peace

More about Peter HERE

Dolores Beckford January 2021

Delores CEO of Crownsavers Credit Union passed away after a short illness Since its foundation Delores was an integral part of the Crownsavers organisation. She had devoted so much of her working life to the wider Credit Union Movement not just Crownsavers. She was well known at many a conference asking the awkward question, where she often spoke with insight on topical matters. Delores served as a leader for the credit unions in London and South East region. She didn’t take herself too seriously and did everything with good humour, a hugely popular figure in the local community who will be sorely missed by all. Rest in peace!

Sandra Kirk

Warrington Credit Union Warrington Credit Union has lost a well-loved and stalwart member with the death in September 2020, of Sandra Kirk. Sandra was a founder member of Fairfield, Howley and Latchford Credit Union. As most volunteers at small credit unions do, she was called on to fill a variety of roles – collector, director, treasurer, tea-maker, loans officer etc. Sandra was always ready to lend a sympathetic ear and offer words of encouragement, qualities that helped that small credit union grow it’s membership. She remained actively involved through the years and helped make the merger with Warrington Credit Union a success. She served on the Board until her death. Her work in the local community extended well beyond the credit union. From ACE Credit Union Services News.

Ron Rushbrooke

North Tyneside Employee Credit Union North learned of the sad death of member number 2. Ron played a key role in setting up North Tyneside Employee Credit Union during his time as the Head of Human Resources at North Tyneside Council. He and the Council’s Personnel Committee Chair, Ned Murray, became aware of horrifying tales of the activities of loan sharks in the area in the late 1980’s and they spearheaded the development of community-based Credit Unions in North Tyneside and the Employees Credit Union as part of the Council’s anti-poverty strategy. As Ron would frequently remind people, it was all started with just a £1000 grant but it resulted in 10 credit unions being established. Ron continued to be a member of the Credit Union after his retirement. From ACE Credit Union Services News.

Alison Palmer

Somerset Community Credit Union Both staff and volunteers at Somerset Community Credit Union were shocked and saddened to hear the news of Alison Palmer’s sudden death. For so many years Alison had played a huge part in the Credit Union, first on the board and then as Chair in what was then the Bridgwater and District Credit Union and latterly as the Chair of the new board of the Somerset Community Credit Union, formed from the merger of the Bridgwater Credit Union and Moorvale Credit Union covering Taunton and West Somerset. Her knowledge of the financial sector and related legislation was invaluable in guiding the credit union forward and it is largely thanks to her that the merger was successfully completed. Alison also did so much behind the scenes, making contacts, attending meetings etc. and not least covering the Bridgwater office when the office manager was on holiday. She will be sadly missed by all at Somerset Community Credit Union. Our thoughts are with her family. From ACE Credit Union Services News.

Ralph Swoboda (1948 – 2021)

Ralph Swoboda died suddenly on 13 September in Dublin. He was a giant of the international credit union movement, was the key individual promoting change in the British credit union movement from the 1990s onwards and was recognised equally throughout Ireland as a key player in ensuring the contemporary relevance of credit unions. Ralph Swoboda spent all his life in the credit union movement. The day before his sudden death, he was actively organising the September CFCFE conference in Manchester. He was the last in the line of Credit Union National Association (CUNA) presidents who served in a job filled by people who only came from within the credit union community. He lived and breathed credit unions till the end. During his time at CUNA Mutual Group, he served as the head of international operations where he directed operations in 30 countries from China to the Caribbean. He also founded and later served as board chair of CUNA Mortgage Corporation.

Thank you Ralph for sharing your knowledge, experience and passion with us all.

You will be sadly missed R.I.P.

Read the booklet about Ralph compiled By Chris Smith on behalf of the movement HERE

Kathy Halligan 1961 -2021

With deepest sympathy, from the Board of Directors and team at Enterprise Creit Union we announce the death of our treasured friend and colleague Kathy Halligan. The funeral took place on on the 15th December at St Agnes’ Church, Huyton. Kathy was part of the ECU family for over 20 years and was instrumental in the success whilst running the Page Moss branch. Kathy will leave a big void in all our lives but none more than her beloved husband Joe and family.

Rest in peace our dear friend.

Copyright British Credit Union Historical Society 2018 – All rights reserved

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