150 Fellowships awarded nationally for 2015

Published: 3 Mar 2015

150 Fellowships awarded nationally for 2015

To mark its 50th anniversary year as Sir Winston’s living legacy, The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has just awarded a record number of 150 Travelling Fellowships - investing at least £1.34 million in British citizens.

150 grants have been awarded to people from all across the UK. The Fellows will travel to 58 countries between them, across six continents, where they will carry out a wide range of projects. The average length of a Fellowship is 6 weeks.

Examples of this year’s Fellows and their projects:

  • Ione Maria Rojas, from Tower Hamlets in London is the founder and project manager of 'Furry Tales', which runs animal-assisted activities from Stepney City Farm to combat social isolation in elders. She will be visiting related projects in Israel, Palestine and the USA with the aim of discovering best practise.
  • Mike Jackson, a consultant paramedic from Liverpool, will be travelling to the USA to study best practice in identifying and transporting major trauma patients.
  • Ruth Mantle, an Alzheimer Scotland dementia nurse consultant from Avoch in Scotland, will be travelling to the USA and Australia to explore innovative ways for staff to connect with people with dementia in their everyday interactions.
  • Seb Mayfield, a community food expert from Winchester in Hampshire, travelling to Canada to investigate how emergency food providers in Canada are going beyond the provision of food aid to create a more just food system.
  • Ruth Davey, a shoemaker from Machynlleth in Wales, will be travelling to Japan and Mexico to research the use of ancient traditions and craft in modern design and manufacture.
  • Janet Williamson, a school principal from Belfast, will be travelling to Australia to evaluate alternative success measures to GSCE and A2 examinations.
  • Siobhann Tighe, from Southwark in London, is Head of Prison Radio at the National Offender Management Service in London. She will be travelling to Sweden and the USA to find out about prison radio programmes which can be heard by the wider public.
  • Jessica Cundy, from London, is a Development Manager at the NSPCC. She will be travelling to Australia and New Zealand to explore best practice in early intervention in families with complex needs.
  • Zoe Barber, a surgical registrar from Royal Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire will be travelling to the USA to investigate Project Angel Food, which delivers nutritious meals to the critically ill in California, in order to teach others the importance of nutrition and human contact in the critically ill.
  • Paul Matthews is a senior practitioner with Barnardo’s in Bristol. He will be travelling to Canada and the USA in order to identify best practice and approaches for supporting sexually exploited boys.
  • Naomi Watson, from Walthamstow in London, who is a Core leader in Young Hackney. She will be travelling to Jamaica, Antigua & Barbuda to research effective interventions for reducing violent crime amongst young black men.

Since its inception in February 1965, over 5,000 ordinary British men and women have been awarded Churchill Fellowships, from over 100,000 applicants. The ethos remains the same five decades on – for individuals to visit different parts of the world in pursuit of new and better ways of tackling a wide range of social, environmental, medical and scientific issues, in order to bring back new approaches and innovative ideas to Britain, for the benefit of their local and regional communities, and, in many cases, the nation.

Before his death in 1965, Sir Winston was adamant that he did not wish to have another statue as his memorial, so he approved the setting up of The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (www.wcmt.org.uk) as his national memorial and living legacy, for the benefit of future generations.

The Trust was founded on 1 February 1965, the day after Churchill's funeral; and just one week after his passing an Appeal was launched to the nation by Field Marshal Lord Alexander of Tunis. Millions of grateful British people willingly gave personal contributions to the newly created Trust. The nation raised an initial £2.8 million – a huge sum of approximately £48 million in today’s money, which remains the basis of the Trust’s finances today.

“Sir Winston’s legacy lives on through our Fellows – individuals who, like him, have vision, leadership, a passion with a purpose, and a commitment to help their fellow citizens” says Jamie Balfour, Director General of The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

Churchill Fellows are remarkable but essentially ordinary individuals.  Aged 18 and over, they come from all walks of life (no qualifications are required in order to apply, but you must be a British citizen).  Their common denominator is their dedication to solving often complex problems facing their communities.

“Churchill understood the power of potential. Inspiring millions around the world during his lifetime, Sir Winston believed and proved that, with the right support, ordinary men and women could achieve extraordinary feats – and that their success and knowledge sharing would inspire and drive others in turn”, explains Sir Richard Vickers, Director General of the Winston Memorial Trust, who served from 1983-1993.

Notes to Editors:

The categories for the 2016 Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowships will be announced on 6th May 2015. See www.wcmt.org.uk for more details.

Annual categories represent current areas of concern in the UK, as well as Churchill’s areas of interest, such as penal reform, travel, the crafts and communities.



  • Churchill was voted ‘Greatest Briton of all time’ in a 2002 BBC poll
  • Over 5,100 WCMT Travelling Fellowships have been awarded since 1965
  • 66 Travelling Fellowships awarded in the first year (1966)
  • 150 Travelling Fellowships awarded in 2015 – a record number to mark the 50th anniversary


Examples of current categories:

  • Education
  • Environment and Sustainable Living
  • Prison and Penal Reform
  • Medicine, Health & Patient Care


Examples of our partners:

  • The Baring Foundation (Arts and Older People / Creative Ageing)
  • The Rank Foundation (Communities that Work)
  • Wave Trust (Early Years Prevention & Intervention)
  • The Prison Reform Trust (Prison & Penal Reform)



Churchill 2015

‘Churchill 2015’ is a unique international celebration of the life and legacy of Sir Winston Churchill, fifty years after his death. Churchill-related activity will take place around the world to commemorate his achievements, to highlight his vibrant existing legacy, to promote a range of educational opportunities and to bring his life and work to new audiences. Churchill 2015 follows three main themes: Commemoration, to mark this important anniversary appropriately; Education, to engage and inspire future generations; and Legacy, to highlight, develop and enhance the existing work of Churchill organisations in delivering programmes focusing on leadership, debate and public speaking. Churchill 2015 is being led by an alliance of those charities and institutions with an interest in the life or legacy of Sir Winston. For a list of partners and a first glimpse of some of the planned activities (there are more to be announced) see www.churchillcentral.com.

We have many examples of Fellows’ stories of achievement from 1965 to the present day. If you would like one from a particular year or location, or would like to interview a Fellow, please contact The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Press Office on 020 7799 1660, or email [email protected]


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