By Terry Kirkby & Aimee Winkfield
The Rose Hill News Summer 2017 issue is dedicated to Bill Buckingham, who recently passed away aged 96.
The many tributes Bill received throughout his life and after his passing truly shows what an important member of this community he was.
Born in St Clements, Bill joined the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry as a soldier to fight for democracy and freedom during WW2 and was injured in Egypt towards the end of the conflict. In later years’ he presented the Royal Green Jackets with a silver bugle having played it during a parade of the regiment.
His interest in the well-being of all those around him possibly started when serving as a shop steward in the Cowley car factory, which saw him representing fellow workers for more than 36 years. He was a local Councillor, Lord Mayor of Oxford and Justice of the Peace and his personal and professional achievements went on.
Perhaps he will be remembered most of all for his total involvement in the Community Association of Rose Hill, firstly in the old wooden army hut sited in Ashurst Way, and then at the old community centre on the Oval, which became church, pub, youth centre, old people’s club, library, football club and held many other functions.
Bill was front and centre at the new community centre opening in Carole’s Way last year, cutting the ribbon alongside former Lord Mayor Rae Humberstone and it is a tribute to him that in the centre, the very heart of the building is named: “The Bill Buckingham Ballroom.”
Fran Gardener, Rose Hill’s Community worker also paid tribute to Bill:
“One of my first assignments as the new Rose Hill Community worker in 2009 was to meet Bill Buckingham and interview him for Rose Hill News. As a newbie on Rose Hill, knowing nothing about the estate or its history, it was fascinating (and very useful) to hear Bill’s stories and remarkable recall of local characters and events over the years.
He explained the history of the Community Centre from the early 1950’s when it was just a wooden building on Ashhurst Way and all about his life as a Councillor and his commitment to serving the people of Oxfordshire.
It was lovely to see him opening the new Community Centre in January 2016 – always smiling and so kind about the Lottery project’s work on Rose Hill. He will be sadly missed.”