Businessman John Nike is given top honour
Published: 29 Sep 2013 16:301 comment
Mr Nike was bestowed the rare and historic honour of Freeman of the Borough in a ceremony attended by
On Wednesday last week, Mr Nike signed and accepted the ‘Freemans Oath’, presented by Mayor Cllr Jan Angell, after his nomination was approved by Bracknell Forest councillors.
At the ceremony, which was attended by the last living freeman, Cllr James Finnie, Mr Nike said: “It’s so meaningful; when I first came to Bracknell I found a new town that was wanting.
“With all my years in Bracknell, I would like to remain in the history of it, and this will ensure that.”
Mr Nike added that he had celebrated with his family afterwards: “I had my family there, my children and grandchildren. After I received the award I simply went to the Beefeeter – that has been the celebration.”
Mr Nike added that he thought he received the honour, which dates back to 1885, due to his charitable and business achievements in the borough. He will be presented with a ceremonial scroll of commemoration in November.
Mr Nike, originally from Devon, moved to Bracknell in 1964, opening up a series of leisure centres in the UK, notably the one named after him in Bracknell, and the Coppid Beech hotel and leisure centre, both at John Nike Way, Bracknell.
Bracknell Forest Council leader Cllr Paul Bettison said: “It’s very rare, it’s not something we do often, we haven’t given one for many years. We don’t award a freeman to anybody. John has consistently given to the community and it’s really something deep within him.
“He gives part of his success back to the community.”
Mr Nike has supported a number of local organisations over the years, including South Hill Park and schools.
His company is also a regular sponsor of the Pride Of Bracknell Awards and each year the gardens of his Bracknell home are opened to the public
Cllr Bettison said Mr Nike had given “enormous amounts of money to good causes” and said the council’s ruling Tory group’s nomination of Mr Nike for the Freeman role had been backed by Labour councillors.
The council has previously bestowed four freeman honours, to Kathleen (Kitty) Dancy OBE and Sir William van Straubenzee MBE in 1994, to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1996 and to long-standing Crowthorne councillor James Finnie