Club Update

An update about the club and what we’re up to at the moment.

Online Meetings

We’ve had some fun social hangouts on Houseparty over the past few weeks. These are announced on the club Facebook page, and have been held on Friday evenings at about the time that we’d be in the club. Please come along to the next one!


As you’ll have seen in the news, the government is keen for schools to return in the next couple of weeks after half-term. Rye St. Antony have indicated to me that they would be willing for us to use the hall in June. HOWEVER, British Fencing’s guidance ( and our committee are clear that we can’t go back to fencing yet because it will be difficult or impossible to maintain social distancing measures whilst in a fencing bout. 

Once the guidance from BF changes, which will be based on events in the country as a whole, we will be able to think about restarting sessions. We’ll also need some new procedures and probably new risk assessments to satisfy the new rules that will likely be in place. If you’d like to lend a hand with these (or have some experience in these matters), please get in touch!


I’m aware that many of you have been continuing to pay monthly membership fees, or have an annual membership that’s still running. Thank you for your continued support. Because the club has essentially no outgoings when we are not running sessions, it is our intention to credit everyone who’s remained a member during lockdown with membership extensions once we are at the other side. If you’d prefer to cancel recurring payments, you can do so by logging in to the admin site ( and turning off Auto Renew on the “Memberships” tab of “TidyHQ Account Settings”. You should also receive an email before the payments are taken telling you how to do this. 

AGM Postponed

The club usually holds its AGM in June. This year, since such a meeting is essentially impossible to hold, we will instead hold an Extraordinary General Meeting when we return to Rye. We will announce this two weeks beforehand, in line with the club constitution. On this subject Anne, our treasurer, has announced her intention to stand down at the next AGM/EGM, and we will require someone to assist with managing our accounts from then. This is not a particularly onerous task since almost everyone pays their fees by credit card, so the bulk of the work is paying invoices for lettings and coaching via online banking. Anne or I would be delighted to explain the work in more detail, which would also suit a parent of one of our junior members. 

Coronavirus Update


17 March 2020

Because of new government guidance designed to reduce the spread of the current coronavirus pandemic, the school has cancelled all lettings for clubs. This means that there will be no club sessions until the regulations are eased. We haven’t been given any indication of when that will be.

My apologies to everyone who wants to fence,
Tim Stephens
Chair, Oxford Fencing Club

Coronavirus Update

I’m aware that many people are concerned about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak that is currently happening. Here’s what the club’s position is as I write.

We’re following Public Health England guidance, so until that changes we’re planning to go ahead with the sessions as normal (which includes the beginners course that is planned to start on 20th March). As far as measures to minimise the risks from the coronavirus outbreak, we have:

  • Wet wipes to clean out the club masks before use. Once a mask is issued to course participants, it’s theirs for the duration of the course; no-one else will be using it and all kit is stored in a numbered bag so you can find it easily each session. We will make some of the spare beginners bags available to regular club members who don’t have their own masks so that they can keep their chosen mask separate and reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Hand-washing is available in the toilets and in the “kitchen” area adjacent to the sports hall entrance. Please make sure that you wash your hands on arrival and departure.
  • One of the traditions in the rules of Fencing is that competitors shake hands after a bout. British Fencing have suspended this rule and advise that fencers avoid handshakes — we have implemented this in the club.
  • We have a relatively large space in the hall, so please try to make the most of this to help everyone stay a reasonable distance apart.

If the government guidance changes (e.g. regarding gatherings of people, or school closings), the school have told me that they will cancel our bookings and the club will not be able to run. If this happens, we will post updates by email, on the club website and on Facebook. Please check before you head out.

Finally, Mark is keeping tally of who’ll be at a particular session using the Facebook group, so if you’re planning to come please let us know there so that we can be confident that there are some others to fence.
Tim Stephens
Chair, Oxford Fencing Club

Epee Course – 6th March

By popular demand, we’re holding an introductory Epee course starting on 6th March for 4 weeks. This should be enough to get a regular foilist or sabreur up to speed with the differences between their usual weapon and the epee. Malcolm will lead the course, and tickets are available here.

Christmas 2019

Friday Sessions

There will be no fencing on Friday 13th December because Rye has an event which will require the use of the hall. Instead, we’re going to meet at the Jam Factory in the city centre for a bit of festive cheer. All over 18s welcome (including parents/guardians of our junior members).

Friday sessions will restart on 10th January 2020.

Tuesday Sessions

Tuesday sessions will run as normal until Tuesday 17th December.

We will restart Tuesday sessions on 7th January 2020.

OFC at Blenheim Palace, August

OFC was invited to help set the scene for performances of Shakespeare at the reconstruction of the Rose Theatre at Blenheim Palace this summer.

Young and older fencers all participated with great enthusiasm, and it was a great opportunity to introduce a new audience to our sport.

Thanks to the actors and production team at the Rose for their support, and to all the fencers who took part.

Photos: Mark Leech and Anne Tester