Round up of our 50th anniversary year

Published: 15 Dec 2015

Author: Helen Aherne
Round up of our 50th anniversary year

2015 has been a hugely reflective and inspiring year - commemorating half a century since Sir Winston’s death, and celebrating our 50th anniversary as his living legacy.

Activities began at a fast pace in January, when we interviewed 240 people, over 15 days.

We awarded a record number of 150 Travelling Fellowships, bringing the total number of Fellows since 1966 to over 5000.

Throughout the year, our regional Associations have organised a wide range of interesting anniversary events, around the UK. It has been fantastic to catch up with so many of our Fellows, from across all decades.

We were honoured that our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen, graciously held a reception on 18th March at Buckingham Palace, to mark our 50th anniversary. 300 people were invited, with Fellows being selected using the digital equivalent of 'drawing names out of a hat'.

The Queen was presented with the first edition of the new Churchill medallion, which has been designed by world renowned architectural artist, Brian Clarke, who is himself a Churchill Fellow of 1974, a Trustee and a member of our Advisory Council. The medallion will be presented to our Churchill Fellows from 2015 onwards.

Another particular highlight has to be the memorable Fellows' Day, held at Sir Winston’s picturesque birthplace of Blenheim Palace. The day was attended by over 1,300 Fellows and their guests; as well as members of the Churchill family.

Watch the Fellows' Day film (4 mins 47 secs).

Our semi-centennial year also gave us the opportunity to raise our profile nationally. In May, one of our Fellows, Ann Pascoe, presented our BBC Radio 4 Charity Appeal. Listen to it again here

In August, Julia Weston, formerly Fellowship Director at the Trust for the past seven years, became the eighth leader of the organisation in its fifty year history, and its first female Chief Executive. Julia took over from Major General Jamie Balfour, who retired after eight years as Director General.

A year of collaboration

Throughout the year, a whole host of Churchill related organisations, including ourselves, collaborated under the banner of ‘Churchill 2015’.

Many of you will have watched the extensive coverage of events on 30th January to mark the 50th anniversary of his state funeral. The day itself was a fitting tribute to Churchill.

A new website, Churchill Central also launched, serving as the definitive resource for information relating to Sir Winston’s life and achievements.

As we reach the end of this momentous year, we celebrate again the many achievements of our Fellows – such remarkable and dedicated individuals, who contribute so much to communities across the UK.

Looking ahead to 2016

Following 989 Fellowship applications for travel in 2016, 250 people will be interviewed over 14 days in January. The categories include two new topical ones - New Approaches to Social and Affordable Housing and Mental Health. We are looking forward to meeting them all.

Next year 3 of our partnerships will be concluding and we will be drawing together the findings of each - Communities That Work with the Rank Foundation, Prison and Penal Reform with The Prison Reform Trust, and Arts and Older People / Creative Ageing with the Baring Foundation. More information to follow.

Throughout 2016 we will also be marking 50 years since our Fellows travels began, and will be featuring some of their stories of achievement.

'And all stood still' image (top) courtesy of Fellow, Laura Wilson.