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The History of Oxford Spires

The Rotary Club of Oxford Spires was set up in 2003. Keith Nickson was the first President and here is his personal view of the start of our club:

The forming of Oxford Spires Rotary Club

Forming the Oxford Spires Rotary club was no easy feat from our early days as a new generation Rotaserve club that had been set up as a spin off from Rotaract members who felt they were too young to join one of the local Oxford Rotary clubs. Rotaserve, of which I was a founder member for the club’s charter night on the 19th of September 1998, had been asked to change over from what was a recognised Rotaserve club to a fully integrated Oxford Spires Rotary club, a name that we had been given the opportunity to decide upon ourselves.

Luckily for me at the time I was a single and confident younger man, as I certainly wouldn’t have the energy or time now to devote to the effort of all the meetings that I attended to promote this new and exciting concept to the, at the time, very straight laced Rotary tradition. This process from conception to completion took well over a year of; meetings, seminars, discussions, and self funded show your face Rotary dinners, with various district governors and distinguished Rotary and district club representatives, with far too many names to remember or recall, performing speeches, discussing terms, filling in forms and generally promoting our proposition to the existing Rotary clubs and members across the country.

However some names have stuck in my memory for all the help and assistance during this change over period, Philip Reynolds who was district governor during my second year of presidency and helped a great deal in pushing our charter night on the 28th of June 2003 through, and assisted in getting our club chartered before my term of office ran out, and especially Brian Key, who was by my side throughout the whole process and shared my view that if Rotary wanted new and vibrant clubs with younger members, then it needed a positive and forward thinking attitude, without his expertise and help we would probably be a rag tag group of didn’t quite make it ex-Rotaserve members now.

To add to this I also had a very good team, within our club, who worked extremely well in the background, especially the club secretary Elizabeth Wilson who, with a little help from Julie Watts, almost single handily organised the run up to our Charter night at The Oxford Hotel, in North Oxford, for over one hundred people, the representation of twenty six district clubs, past and present district governors and Rotary representatives that travelled from far and wide (including America) to attend one of the first newly chartered clubs in the country for over twenty years and certainly in the district since the 1960’s.

I still recall the day in June 2003 we chartered with fond memories of all the preparation during the afternoon, welcoming people as they arrived for the evening meal and presentations, and how nervous I was during the meal, sitting on the top table, knowing that I had to do yet another speech, this time from the podium, and this time it was not a “by the way” were promoting our club, but a genuine this is our club and we are here to stay speech, also the relief I felt when we had done all the speeches, presentations, and photographs and the night was over. The final outcome made me realise how fortunate I was during my two years of presidency to have our club accepted into the Rotary family.

Those two years as president had flown by and suddenly my term as president ended only two weeks after our charter night, but I felt safe in the knowledge that the new incoming president, and many more presidents to follow, were now the holder of a fully chartered Rotary club, with all the recognition and privileges that a fully chartered club holds, and still look back on those days with pride and a sense of achievement, in the hope that our club, Oxford Spires, will continue to drive the concept of a younger, active and forward thinking Rotary toward the next millennium.

Keith Nickson
Founder president of Oxford Spires Rotary Club