Editor’s Note: Kieran Wilson is currently the youngest member of The Churchill Centre. Since joining The Churchill Centre and having delivered a birthday toast to Lady Soames at the age of 11, Kieran, now 15, has continued to hone his own oratory skills while mentoring other youth. Kieran is currently in grade 10 at Esquimalt High School in Victoria B.C, Canada and is the new Youth and Education Chair of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Vancouver Island.
By Erin McCracken
OAK BAY NEWS, 7 April 2011 – At 15 years old, Kieran Wilson might be forgiven if he didn’t know who Sir Winston Churchill was.
But he not only knows most everything about the Second World War era British prime minister, he models some of his public-speaking abilities after him. He also hopes to one day enter politics.
“Winston Churchill was definitely one of the great statesmen of the modern age,” the Grade 10 Esquimalt High student said. “I think he’s quite the role model.”
The Fairfield resident believes youth can learn a lot from Churchill. That’s the reason why, at age 11, he joined the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Vancouver Island and continues to be the international group’s youngest member.
I am very honored to have been selected as the recipient of the prestigious Blenheim Award. Looking at the blue-ribbon list of former honorees is a rather humbling experience and leaves one wondering – me? My years of involvement with the Centre have been both exciting and fulfilling, whether as a Governor or a Chapter Liaison, membership chairman or conference chairman.
Of course, one does not receive an award such as this by ones self, especially when managing conferences. The heart of a Churchill Centre conference is a team: Dan Myers, Mary Paxson and the chairman. I thank them and share with them the honor of the Blenheim Award.
27th International Churchill Conference, Charleston, South Carolina
The conference, “Churchill in the News” was split between the Francis Marion Hotel for dinners and the College of Charleston for sessions. The 210 registrants walked 2-1/2 blocks through campus on brick walkways between tall trees hanging with Spanish moss, edged with azaleas and dogwood, to the Stern Student Center ballroom on the 4th floor. Three fulltime college students and twenty-two academics attended. Chapter presidents met during Friday’s lunchtime. Saturday the academics met for a round table discussion over lunch with Professor James Muller, TCC’s Chairman of Academics Advisors. Fifty-eight people took the pre-conference tour of Hobcaw Barony, Bernard Baruch’s estate where Churchill was a guest. Others took the Middleton Plantation tour or the Charleston walking tour on Sunday after the conference. The City of Charleston with its history, its gardens, pedicabs, and brick walkways was warm and charming.
Going into a conference as the conference Manager, one hopes and prays it will be well received. Never before have thank-you messages from the speakers arrived before pen has been put to paper to write their thank you letters! Here are a few:
“Thank you for delivering a fine group of interested conference participants to Hobcaw Barony today . . . what a gift from you to Hobcaw Barony. Everything (ran) smooth as glass . . despite forest fires and highway closures. As Judy predicted, the group drank lots of hot coffee and bought lots of books! I so appreciate having a copy of the conference announcement for our planning, the wonderful program with the Baruch-Churchill-South Carolina connection described, and the gift of the Churchill art book. All on top of a lovely day spent with people from all over the world with similar interests as ours!”
Lee G. Brockington
“Thanks for including us, for your generous hospitality . . and for the conference itself. The conference was very well run, you had some dynamite sessions, and it seemed to me everyone really responded. . .”
Director, Irvin Department of Rare Books & Special Collections. University of South Carolina Libraries
“What a tremendous success the Charleston Conference was: very many Congratulations. The numbers attending, the quality of the speakers, the jollity of the social events, the grandeur of the closing banquet, the sheer efficiency: all made for a spectacular occasion. Susan and I hugely enjoyed it.”
NEW YORK, 29 March 2011 – A crowd of enthusiastic Churchillians attended a reception at the beautiful New York penthouse apartment of Churchill Centre Benefactor Tina Santi Flaherty on March 29, 2011 to celebrate the announcement of a major new exhibition, “Churchill: The Power of Words” to be held at the prestigious Morgan Library in New York from June to September 2012.
The Churchill Archives Centre exhibition, already supported by The Churchill Centre and by generous grants from Mr. and Mrs. Anthony and Anna Wild and the evenings hostess Mrs. Flaherty, will showcase an extensive range of important historical documents from the Archives highlighting Churchill’s use of language in crafting his political career and in his defense of freedom and democracy during Britain’s Finest Hour. “Winston Churchill: The Power of Words” will incorporate a variety of other Churchill artifacts including books, photos and memorabilia and will we believe be accompanied by public lectures by leading Churchill scholars and by a film program.
At the reception, Morgan Library Director William M. Griswold expressed the Library’s excitement at being able to host the exhibition and noted that the Morgan’s long history as a repository for some of the world’s most important literary and historical documents makes it an especially suitable venue. Allen Packwood, Director of the Churchill Archives Centre and Executive Director of The Churchill Centre – U.K. spoke about how Churchill used the power of words in his books, articles and speeches to advance his political ideas and philosophy.
Ben Silver of Charleston produces the official Churchill Centre logo tie in both red and blue, and in regular four-in-hand and bow tie configurations. During our recent conference, we ran a special sale and sold out of our inventory of all ties. We are now considering re-stocking a variety of ties but before placing our order, we need an indication of interest. They are custom made just for us and are of the same quality as all Ben Silver merchandise, but at a discounted price. Please contact The Churchill Centre if you are interested in purchasing one.
On March 28, 2011, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading international human rights organization, posthumously awarded its Medal of Valor to Sir Winston Churchill at a gala dinner in New York. The Chairman of The Churchill Centre’s Board of Trustees, Laurence Geller, accepted the award on behalf of Sir Winston and the Churchill family and made the following remarks.
By Laurence Geller
On behalf of The Churchill Centre I would like to thank the Simon Wiesenthal Center for honoring Sir Winston Churchill with the Medal of Valor. Our mission simply is to ensure that the lessons learned from the life, times, deeds and actions of this bold, courageous, complex giant amongst men are never forgotten. Teaching the importance and relevance of these lessons, and their pertinence in our precarious and rapidly changing world, are what we at The Churchill Centre are passionately driven to do. Not only for today’s generations, but for all generations of freedom loving people yet to come.
It seems to me that The Churchill Centre’s mission, and that of the Simon Wiesenthal Center are so very similar and that together we must strive to ensure the horrors of the twentieth century are not only never repeated but, perhaps more importantly, the lessons learned from that traumatic and bloody century can guide us all not to repeat past tragic mistakes. Millions of the dead surely demand that of us?
Churchill was an unabashed supporter of the rights and destiny of the Jewish people, often to his personal detriment. Anti-Semitism, or perhaps, more correctly stated, Anti-Jewish sentiment, was rife throughout all too many levels of UK society and throughout the corridors of governmental power. Churchill certainly paid a political and popularity price for his support of Jews. However, from his support of the Balfour Declaration to the Foundation of the State of Israel, he never wavered in his beliefs.
The volatile, fragile and all too often terrifying times we live in today are sadly and all too real a mirror of those horrific years when Winston Churchill’s boldness, courage and clarion call were for so many the sole beacon shining brightly as the lights of freedom were rapidly being extinguished throughout Europe. All in the name of perverted causes, ever evil totalitarianism and the inevitable, and always so glibly rationalized, accompanying genocide.
On the March 18, 2011, the Second Annual Winston S. Churchill Competition & Award for Excellence was presented at the Hyman G. Rickover Naval Academy – A City of Chicago Public High School. The students and faculty have been significantly involved with the Churchill Chicagoland Chapter for a number of years. The event is an award for knowledge of Winston Churchill as shown by the student answering questions and a verbal presentation to an assembly of students, faculty and judges. Student, Chief Marcus Guerra received the top award.
As is the Naval custom, guests were piped aboard compliments of the Rickover color guard. Laurence Geller gave the keynote address. TCC member and Rickover board member Dr Joe Troiani provided the award. Dan Myers and Phil Larson were part of the judging panel.
On March 14th, in National Science and Engineering Week with the British Science Association, I gave a talk to members of the Monday Group of St Paul’s Church, Dorking in Surrey. This is immediately next door to the extensive estate known as The Deepdene, where Winston Churchill’s aunt Lily, Duchess of Marlborough, and her 3rd husband Lord William Beresford VC lived until their deaths, assisting his career. Churchill later wrote: “They bade me visit them continuously … thus I paid frequent visits to Deepdene with its comfort and splendour”.
With the area’s renowned natural beauty, stunning views and fresh air, access to the south coast and historic links to nobility dating back to Queen Edith in Saxon times, then William 1st’s son in law, de Warenne, the Howard family of Henry VIII’s reign and Spanish Armada fame, my research has highlighted the engineering achievements over the centuries. There are man-made caves and tunnels underneath Deepdene, the old Reigate Castle and Reigate Priory where WSC also stayed on various historic and social occasions. Royal Engineer General Sir George Chesney in 1871 published his fictional story anonymously, which he called “The Battle of Dorking”. He foresaw the possibility of a German invasion and it was not long before a series of 13 forts was constructed along the North Downs chalkland. Decades later, WSC himself was awarded the Chesney Gold Medal – a rare achievement. He did not mention The Battle of Dorking in his acceptance speech though, but he was good at keeping secrets!
Join or Renew NowPlease join with us to help preserve the memory of Winston Churchill and continue to explore how his life, experiences and leadership are ever-more relevant in today’s chaotic world. BENEFITS >BECOME A MEMBER >
Finest Hour Image
The most recent issues of Finest Hour are available online to members. Join to automatically receive a subscription to BOTH Finest Hour and the Churchill Bulletin.LEARN MORE >VISIT FINEST HOUR ARCHIVE >
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.