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Lady Soames Birthday Celebrated at Gala Party Aboard Ship in South of France Print E-mail

By D. Craig Horn

October 2011

To celebrate a birthday is to celebrate a life. Churchillians from around the world celebrated the birthday of Mary Soames, Winston Churchill's daughter, at Cannes, France, on September 15, 2011. Celia Sandys hosted a gala birthday party for Mary aboard ship during a spectacular tour to the South of France. Thirty Churchillians came together aboard the luxurious Seabourn Legend, September 9-16, for an incredible tour of many of the venues that Winston Churchill visited and painted. The tour was organized and produced by Celia Sandys and began in the port of Civitavecchia near Rome. The ship sailed to the intriguing Corsican village of Bonifacio and then on to ports across the Cote d'Azur, the French Riviera, Le Lavandou, Provence, Sanary-sur-Mer, Saint Raphael, Cannes and ended in spectacular Monte-Carlo, Monaco. In addition to Celia, we were joined by Allen Packwood and Minnie Churchill who gave interesting and insightful presentations along the way about Churchill, his adventures and his painting. One guest summarized the week as "one of the greatest weeks that I have ever had."

View more photos from the event here.

The onboard party included tour guests from Canada, England, France and the United States of America and who were joined by the ship's Captain Andrew Pedder to raise a glass of champagne, Pol Roger of course, in honor of Mary. One of the night's many highlights was a special birthday cake, hand-fashioned in chocolate by the ship's pastry chef, into a beautiful cigar caddy inside of which were individual cakes, each in the shape of a Churchill-sized cigar. A special toast for the occasion was offered by Alan Packwood, Director of The Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College in Cambridge, England.

Mary Paxson Resigns Her Position at The Churchill Centre Print E-mail

After nearly four years of dedicated service to The Churchill Centre, Mary Paxson will be leaving as our Director of Administration. Her last day was this past Friday June 10th. Mary has taken a new position with Harris Bank in Chicago as Project Analyst in their Community Affairs Department.

Mary's tireless commitment to the Centre will be dearly missed, but we of course wish her all the greatest success in her new position. Lee Pollock, TCC's Executive Director, noted "It has been a great pleasure working with Mary. The warmth and affection in which she is held by our members are testament to her dedication to our organization and the outstanding service she has provided."

In her letter of resignation, Mary said, "I would never have been considered for my new position if it were not for the three and a half years that I have spent at The Churchill Centre. The wealth of knowledge and many experiences will continue with me as I head into this next chapter of my life. Although I am blessed and excited to have been offered this opportunity, I am also very sad in my heart to leave TCC. "

Churchill Inspires Young Speakers Print E-mail
Youth to Practice Oratory Skills

Editor's Note: Kieran Wilson is currenlty 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.


His passion for the great orator has prompted him to organize the first Impromptu Speaking Youth Competition on Saturday (April 9) in his role as chair of his society's youth and education committee.


Teens aged 14 to 17 from all schools were invited to participate, but won't be required to know about the late Brit. They will, however, be asked to speak for two to three minutes on two impromptu topics related to history, politics and life, looking through "Churchill-tainted glasses," Wilson said.


Letter to The Churchill Centre Print E-mail

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.

From 27th International Churchill Conference 2011

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.

Judy Kambestad


See all of the photos from the 27th International Churchill Conference here.


Laurence Geller's Remarks at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Gala Tribute Print E-mail

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.


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