Local Face: Robin Spring

  |  Published: Oct 1st 1996

Robin Spring is a Wendover man through and through. He was born in the village, educated at the "Clocktower" School, as it was known, and the John Colet. He still lives in the village, as do his mother and sister, and runs his business here.

As a youngster, Robin was very taken with motor bikes and started Club Racing. He was clearly very talented as he raced on every track in Great Britain, appearing at the Isle of Man TT in 1977-8.

He was very successful in Europe and particularly taken with circuits in the Far East: Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, winning three championships and many international placings and wins. The Daytona track in America was another favourite of his.

In 1988 Robin started to retire from the race track. He still goes to race meetings as often as possible to help the Halton Service Station (HSS) Team. Now he prepares and maintains bikes for Chris Rooe who races all over the UK and Europe. Robin still rides on race tracks from time to time but
no longer on the road, "It is too dangerous!"

It was a natural progression, then, for Robin to combine his enthusiasm with his work and he trained as a motor mechanic at the Red Rose Garage, Aylesbury Road, Wendover under Barty Gibbs. Twenty-five years ago, he sub-let a workshop from Derek Randall at Halton Service Station. The Randall family had two garages in Halton, one inside the Camp, and one outside the Camp on the Tring Road. (Wendover Heights Veterinary Surgery came to join them in February 1991.)

Derek Randall's father had owned these two garages and a taxi company so their histories were very entwined with Halton RAF Camp. When Derek retired, Robin took on the lease of the Shell petrol station. Last year Robin bought the petrol station from Shell and now serves Proteus Petrol. The forecourt has attendants, John Newton, Ron Matthews, Jim Harding who serve customers and pride themselves on the service given. They also have a well stocked shop selling milk, bread and convenience foods as requested by customers. Many people from the camp and nearby find this an invaluable service.

Robin tends to be found in the workshop with expert mechanic Barry Gibbs, his former boss. They repair and maintain all makes of car. Their boast is to offer everything for the motor car and the best possible service for the motorist. This includes much more than the customary courtesy car, tyres, exhausts. Weekday closing time is 7.30pm, 5pm at weekends. Servicing out of hours can be arranged by appointment. This means that busy people can come home from work and have minor car problems fixed on the spot that evening and be able to use the car to go to work again the next day. Many customers find the Saturday and Sunday servicing equally useful. A man who enjoys his work, Robin is often still in the workshop at midnight.

As a founder member of the Wendover Chamber of Trade, Robin is convinced that personal service is what draws people away from the impersonal supposed convenience of supermarket shopping. Price checks show that it is not always more expensive to buy locally. Furthermore continuity of personal service is something above price.

He has always advocated and endorsed special measures to maintain Wendover as an attractive commercial centre. One of his proposals is Late Night Shopping one evening a week to help working people to use the selection of shops still available in this increasingly diverse village. Some of the standard shops have been devastated by the Supermarket Giants but specialists are thriving. Robin is very pleased that so far Wendover has avoided being gobbled up by Aylesbury but is convinced that only constant vigilance will ensure a continued separate identity.

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