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Inspired by Churchill: Zac’s Story

Joint Winner of the Inspire Like Churchill Essay Contest

“Hi, my name’s Zac Du Boulay. I’ve been fighting for my life since I was born because I couldn’t breathe, eat, speak or smile. I have spent a lot of time living in isolation in hospital and at home. 

…Before we had to go into lockdown, I sometimes felt too scared to leave the house because I’m scared of crowds and of people bullying me for being different, but I just have to believe in myself and be brave.”

Watch Zac’s full speech here.

Churchill knew the power of words. Eighty years ago he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle. This year the International Churchill Society responded to the Covid-19 crisis by asking people to come up with their own words of inspiration. The prize money was to go to a hospital or healthcare charity of the winner’s choice.

In the United Kingdom, a very brave young man more than rose to the challenge. It is impossible not to be moved and motivated by Zac Du Boulay’s winning video entry (insert link). Zac has shown truly Churchillian resolve in overcoming severe disability and enduring many hours of surgery.

Born with Moebius Syndrome and left fighting for his life in intensive care, his family were told he would never eat orally, speak or smile due to his facial and oral paralysis. Not only did Zac insist on recording his written entry, he also used his prize money as the starting point for a greater fundraising effort to support the wonderful team at the Great Ormond Street Hospital who had treated him. See this page.

He has already exceeded his £10,000 target but we are certain that this is not even the ‘beginning of the end’ (to paraphrase Churchill).

Zac’s entry was chosen by expert judges from a large and international field of all ages.

Zac’s mother Annabel commented: 

“Winning Joint First Prize in a global competition has had a profound effect on the way Zac views himself and what he’s capable of, and I believe will therefore help to change the course of his life.”

Jennie Churchill, great-granddaughter of Sir Winston, said:

“Zac. Many Congratulations on your brilliant Inspire like Churchill ‘Winning’ speech. Your courage and inspiration is enormous and your family, doctors and nurses must be So very proud of you.”

Mr Laurence, Geller, Chair of the International Churchill Society, reflected:

“The International Churchill Society is not just about the past. The values of courage and perseverance are universal and words are still needed to move and motivate us in times of crisis. I am humbled by what Zac has achieved.”

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The International Churchill Society (ICS), founded in 1968 shortly after Churchill's death, is the world’s preeminent member organisation dedicated to preserving the historic legacy of Sir Winston Churchill.

At a time when leadership is challenged at every turn, that legacy looms larger and remains more relevant than ever.