Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Man Seeks to Start Social British Club in Englewood

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Man Seeks to Start Social British Club in Englewood

Article excerpt

ENGLEWOOD

Having lived in the United States for 30 of his 47 years, Rik Sills retains just a slight trace of his British accent.

Yet the physical education teacher, who has dual citizenship, declares a strong emotional attachment to both the United States and his homeland. He believes many others in the Englewood area do as well.

Sills wants to organize a British American Club of Englewood. He intends to welcome native Britons, their American-born spouses and any Anglophiles who enjoy British culture or sports.

On Jan. 28, he will conduct an organizational meeting at the Pig- n-Whistle British Pub in Rotonda and see how many potential members attend.

"This is all very liquid," Sills said of his plans for the club.

"I'll get a consensus and see what people want to do. I want to try to keep it casual, informal -- the Florida lifestyle."

He does not want to charge dues or maintain membership rolls.

Sills is unsure how many British natives are in the area, but says during his 10 years in Englewood, he has encountered many.

The Sarasota British Club, which formed in 2001 for the same purpose, boasts about 200 members.

"I think we can sustain a club in Englewood," Sills said.

A "big fan" of British soccer and cricket, he envisions club members gathering to watch televised games or attend cricket matches in Lakewood Ranch.

Those who are not sports enthusiasts may share other interests.

"I meet Americans who love British TV," said Sills, who does not share his wife Leslie's fascination with "Downton Abbey" and prefers some of the BBC's mystery series.

He would also like the club to celebrate British holidays, such as Queen Elizabeth's birthday and Guy Fawkes Night, and interact with other British-oriented clubs in Southwest Florida.

Yet underlying any club activities will be the recognition that America and Britain are each other's greatest ally, Sills said. …

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