Chief executive of Kibble Education and Care Centre, Graham Bell attended a special event at Sir Winston Churchill’s birthplace of Blenheim Palace, on Wednesday 27th May, to mark the 50th anniversary of his living legacy – The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT), and 50 years since his passing.
Graham went on his Churchill Travelling Fellowship in 2002 to America and Canada to research fostering, adoption and residential care of children. Since then Kibble has launched its Intensive Fostering Services and improved its residential care services.
Over 1000 Fellows and their guests, from every decade since 1965 attended the day, which was hosted by the Duke of Marlborough’s sister – Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, who is herself a generational cousin of Sir Winston, and a member of the WCMT Advisory Council.
Members of the Churchill family, including Sir Winston’s grandson Jeremy Soames; and his great-grandson, Randolph, were also present; as well as many of the Trustees and Advisory Council from the WCMT.
Highlights of the day included presentations given by Fellows from 1968 to 2014, about how their Fellowship has shaped their lives and careers. Internationally acclaimed Churchill experts, including historian Sir David Cannedine, also gave talks.
The special day was rounded off with a spectacular Spitfire Display, followed by Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill and Randolph Churchill taking the salute at a Beating Retreat given by a marching band.
Graham said: “One of Kibble’s most recent employment training and job creation projects has been The Experience, a themed entertainment and events venue in the former Rolls Royce factory, in Hillington, which made the Merlin engines for Spitfire planes. The transformation to youth employment, learning and leisure centre ensures the preservation of this iconic building.
“It was very moving to stand in the grounds of Blenheim Palace and watch the Spitfire fly-past. The Merlin engines made in Hillington contributed significantly to the war effort and I am proud of this historic link.”
Fellows from the South West Association of the WCMT also presented Lady Henrietta with one of Britain’s rarest plants, the Plymouth pear tree, to be planted in the grounds of Blenheim Palace.
Since 1965, over 5000 British citizens have been awarded Churchill Fellowships, from over 100,000 applicants, to travel overseas to study areas of topical and personal interest. The knowledge and innovative ideas they bring back are widely shared, for the benefit of their profession, their community, and, in lots of cases, the nation. For many people a Churchill Fellowship proves transformational, and they go on to achieve great things – effecting positive change within society.
To mark its half century, The Trust has awarded a record number of 150 Travelling Fellowships in 2015 – investing over £1.3m in British citizens. This year’s 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.
Many events are being held throughout the year to celebrate Sir Winston’s life and legacy.
“It is fitting to hold our 50th anniversary event at Blenheim Palace, and to come together with hundreds of Fellows from across the past 5 decades, to celebrate the life of this great leader. 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.
For further information please contact:
The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust on 020 7799 1660
‘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 planned activity see www.churchillcentral.com