In 1990, following a couple of dry years, the river was in very poor health.  Jack Ainslie, Roger deVere, and friends decided to form an action group to bring pressure to bear upon the bodies involved in the Kennet’s welfare. This was the birth of Action for the River Kennet. Jack Ainsley chaired ARK until 2003. He was succeeded by Sir Nigel Thompson, who was also national chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), and our current chairman is Dr Geoffrey Findlay.
ARK’s first meeting was held in Marlborough Town Hall with representatives from, among others, Thames Water and the Environment Agency. The room was full to overflowing ‘they were hanging from the rafters’ recalls Jack, the authorities were amazed at the level of concern for the river’s health.  While building up a helpful relationship with Thames Water and others ARK is still an action group and will never hesitate to speak its mind and to take action whenever necessary.