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Major International Churchill Conference Opens, Bringing Together
Experts from Around the World as the Year-Long Celebration of Sir
Winston’s Life and Legacy Continues
 Boris Johnson as keynote speaker
 World-class programme including David Cannadine, Jonathan Dimbleby,
Michael Dobbs, Margaret MacMillan, Sonia Purnell, Andrew Roberts and
Sayid Ahmed Al Mahdi (grandson of the Mahdi, Muhammad Ahmed)
 The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust marks its 50th anniversary with a
special event at Blenheim Palace
 Memorial Concert set to take place featuring a tribute from the former Prime
Minister of Canada
 Brand new Churchill Archive for Schools website announced, providing a free
resource for teachers and students
 Global Leadership Programme gathers momentum
 Pentland launch the Winston Churchill Design Competition 2015
Churchill societies from around the world have come together to present Churchill:
Celebrating A Life, the 32nd International Churchill conference, which began today as
part of Churchill 2015.
Hosted by The Churchill Centre (UK) the conference is centred around three locations
in Oxfordshire: Blenheim Palace, the place where Churchill was born, where he
proposed, and where he is buried at Bladon; Ditchley Park, where he conducted high
level summit meetings during the war; and Heythrop Park, which is now the home of a
Crowne Plaza hotel.
Over 300 delegates, comprising Churchill experts, collectors, scholars and historians,
have flocked to the UK to celebrate and debate Sir Winston’s life, fifty years after his
death, sixty years after his final resignation as prime minister, and seventy five years
after his ‘finest hour’ leading the fight against fascism in 1940.
Celia Sandys, granddaughter of Winston Churchill and Conference President opening
proceedings this morning, said: “It gives me enormous pleasure to welcome here today
such an array of esteemed speakers and Churchillians from around the world for the
32nd International Churchill Conference. This event not only offers a moment to
celebrate my grandfather’s life, it also unites us to explore the ways in which we
remember him, to share ideas, to reflect on his accomplishments and his legacy – and of
course to raise a glass in his honour.”
The conference features a packed programme of top-level speakers including Professor
Sir David Cannadine, Jonathan Dimbleby, Lord (Michael) Dobbs, Professor
Margaret MacMillan, Sonia Purnell, Dr Andrew Roberts and Sayid Ahmed Al Mahdi
(grandson of the Mahdi, Muhammad Ahmed). Throughout the event delegates will
examine the whole of Churchill’s life, including the controversies surrounding him, in a
bid to get to know the man behind the legend. It forms a key part of Churchill 2015, the
official programme of educational and cultural activity taking place throughout the year
to commemorate Churchill’s achievements, to highlight his vibrant existing legacy, to
promote a range of educational opportunities and to bring his life and work to new
Speaking at the conference this morning, Mayor of London and author of The Churchill
Factor, Boris Johnson said: “In my view Churchill was quite simply the best speaker, the
best writer, the best joke-maker, the bravest, the boldest and the most original politician
of his generation. It is vital we continue to celebrate the great man, as we are doing here
To ensure that Churchill’s extraordinary legacy and values are passed on to successive
generations, Churchill organisations are continuing to deliver new and enhanced events
and activities throughout the year.
Providing a fitting tribute to Churchill's achievements as a world statesman the Global
Leadership Programme, already underway following a high profile launch event in
March, is focusing on 21st Century Statesmanship, addressing top-level global strategic
issues and working with the leaders of tomorrow. The programme features a series of
international panel events and is set to culminate with a seminar hosted by Lord
(George) Robertson (former Secretary General of NATO) on 23rd October at London’s
Guildhall, after which all reports will be published.
In partnership with the 32nd International Churchill Conference, The Winston Churchill
Memorial Trust (WCMT), established in 1965 as Sir Winston's national memorial and
living legacy, marked its 50th anniversary with a special event at Blenheim Palace
yesterday. The celebrations, which included a spectacular Spitfire display, saw WCMT
Fellows from every decade since 1965 attending, many of whom gave presentations
about how their Fellowships had shaped their lives and careers. Ann Pascoe, a Fellow of
2012 who was invited to join the Prime Minister’s rural dementia communities’ task
group as a direct result, will be presenting a BBC Radio 4 Appeal, on behalf of the
WCMT on Sunday 31st May at 7.55am & 9.26pm.
Also taking place at Blenheim Palace will be the forty-fourth Churchill Memorial
Concert. In the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough, tomorrow’s charity
event will feature performances from the Academy of Ancient Music and members of the
Harrow School Choir, with a tribute given by The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney,
lawyer, politician and former Prime Minister of Canada.
A brand new Churchill Archive for Schools website has also been announced. Due to
launch next month, teachers and students will have free access to the entire digital
version of the Churchill Archive. Written by experienced educators, this specially
created series of classroom-ready resources will provide an accessible and exciting
entry point into the archive though key topics in British and World History.
In recognition of Churchill’s inspirational character, creative thinking and ongoing
influence, Pentland, in association with Champagne Pol Roger, The Churchill Centre
(UK) and Arts Thread, have launched the Winston Churchill Design Competition
2015. The brief - to design a gift box and label for a magnum of Pol Roger Brut Vintage
2006 champagne - is open to UK residents studying for an undergraduate or
postgraduate degree, with the winner receiving a cash prize of £1,000 plus a chance to
undertake a valuable work placement at Pentland’s London Headquarters.
Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston, continues its Churchill 2015 activities with
the unveiling of a new memorial garden, open to visitors from 9th June. Situated near
the Temple of Diana, where Churchill proposed to his wife during a summer downpour,
the memorial garden will be a beautiful and educational homage. The garden is part of a
larger Walk in Churchill’s Footsteps trail and takes place alongside Blenheim’s
reinvigorated Churchill exhibition and themed Afternoon Teas.
In the neighbouring village of Bladon, a new stained glass window will be unveiled at
Churchill’s final resting place of St Martin’s Church. The window, which will be open to
the public from 10th June, has been designed to provide a subtle tribute to Sir Winston
and will mark the 50th anniversary of his death with an impressive and permanent
Throughout June, Churchill’s family home of Chartwell will shine a light on his legacy
with a month of special events. The 50th Anniversary Lecture Series will comprise a
series of unique lectures, each week focusing on a different theme including the war,
painting, books and what made Sir Winston so iconic. Death of A Hero, a year-long
exhibition that takes a moving and emotive look into the reaction to Churchill’s death,
will also be open to visitors alongside a special life and legacy trail around the grounds.
A charity auction taking place at today’s conference will raise funds for The Churchill
Centre, the member organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of Sir Winston
Churchill. Auction lots include a portrait of Churchill by acclaimed artist Basia
Hamilton, a 22 carat gold £5 commemorative Churchill coin produced by The Royal
Mint and a two night stay at the Belmond Reid’s Palace hotel in Madeira, where
Churchill wrote his post-war memoirs.
Sir David Cannadine, pre-eminent historian and Chairman of the Churchill 2015
Executive Committee said: “I am delighted that there has been such a huge appetite all
around the world to celebrate Sir Winston Churchill in this special anniversary year. The
quite exceptional commemorations in January were entirely befitting of such an
extraordinary figure, touching people in a way which clearly demonstrates that
Churchill's lasting and exceptional legacy will continue to be recognized and to provide
inspiration for many, many future generations to come.”
For interviews and further press information please contact:
Anna Highet
[email protected]
07970 543867
Notes to Editors:
Churchill 2015 is being led by an alliance of charities, institutions and organisations
with an interest in the life or legacy of Sir Winston Churchill. Current partners include:
o The Churchill Centre (UK)
o The Churchill Centre (US)
o The English-Speaking Union
o The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust
o The Benefice Of Blenheim And Bladon
o Blenheim Palace
o Bloomsbury Publishing
o Chartwell, National Trust
o The Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge
o Churchill College, Cambridge
o The Churchill Family & Curtis Brown (London)
o Churchill Society For The Advancement Of Parliamentary Democracy
o Churchill War Rooms, part of Imperial War Museums
o The Estate Of Yousuf Karsh
o The Havengore, London
o Hillsdale College, Michigan
o Historial Charles De Gaulle, Musée de l’Armée, Paris
o Hodder & Stoughton, publishers of The Churchill Factor by Boris Johnson
o The Houses of Parliament
o The International Churchill Society (Canada)
o National Churchill Library And Center, George Washington University
o The National Churchill Museum, Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri
o The National Railway Museum, York
o The Pentland Group
o The Royal Mint
o The Science Museum, London
o The Sir Winston Churchill Archive Trust
o The University Of Bristol
o The University Of Essex
o The Winston Churchill Foundation Of The United States
For a full list of events and activity taking place throughout the year visit:
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