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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Plans to commemorate the life of Sir Winston Churchill fifty years after his death

Organisations and institutions around the world have come together to present Churchill 2015, a unique celebration of the life and legacy of Sir Winston Churchill, fifty years after his death, sixty years after his final resignation as prime minister, and seventy five years after his ‘finest hour’ leading the fight against fascism in 1940. During a press conference this morning at the Churchill War Rooms, Sir David Cannadine announced a host of educational and cultural activity set to take place throughout the year to commemorate Churchill’s achievements, to highlight his vibrant existing legacy, to promote a range of educational opportunities and to bring his life and work to new audiences. The events announced are

  • The Houses of Parliament to host a remembrance service and wreath laying ceremony, and a speech by Mr Speaker 
  • Brand new Churchill Central website launched to further advance his living legacy for future generations
  • The Havengore vessel, which carried the coffin of Sir Winston, to retrace its journey down the Thames, conjuring the mesmerising spirit of his State funeral
  • Global Leadership Programme launched in a fitting tribute to Churchill’s memory to address global strategic issues with a focus on the leaders of tomorrow
  • Unique Churchill’s Scientists exhibition to open at the Science Museum, uncovering the story of Churchill’s fascination with science
  • Special ceremony to take place at Westminster Abbey with readings from Sir David Cannadine and The Hon. Celia Sandys on behalf of the Churchill family
  • The English-Speaking Union to run its flagship competition The ESU- Churchill National Public Speaking Competition for Schools, involving nearly 400 schools across England & Wales, and culminating in the National Final at Churchill College, Cambridge in April 2015 

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: “Half a century after his death, Winston Churchill’s legacy continues to inspire not only the nation whose liberty he saved, but the entire world. His words and his actions reverberate through our national life today. 2015 is a year to remember Winston Churchill’s extraordinary life of achievement, to admire and to celebrate it anew and to give thanks for his service not only to the country he loved, but to humanity as a whole.”

Sir David Cannadine, pre-eminent historian and Chairman of the Churchill 2015 Executive Committee said: “I am delighted that such a broad range of events and activities will be taking place around the world to mark and commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill. This varied and exciting programme will not only remind us what an extraordinary figure he was, and what a remarkable life he lived, but it will also demonstrate Churchill's lasting and exceptional legacy, in the belief that future generations will recognise and be inspired by one of the greatest figures this country has ever produced.”

Emma Soames, granddaughter of Winston Churchill and speaking at the press conference on behalf of the Churchill family, said: "To me growing up he was a grandfather, but I came to realise at his death that he was so much more than that. The family are absolutely delighted that his life is being celebrated and his legacy expanded."

Churchill Central: Underpinning all activity is a brand new Churchill Central website, developed by Bloomsbury Publishing and funded by the Churchill Centre (UK). This is a unique resource featuring content that informs, inspires and invites dialogue, delivered with compelling interactive features and exciting, innovative design. Users can learn about the different stages in Churchill’s life, from childhood through to his later years, and can explore themes based on aspects of his character. A unique timeline allows users to navigate their way through all the key years in his long and varied life as well events and developments taking place elsewhere in the world. It also acts as a portal to the Churchill world and as the vehicle for delivering Churchill 2015 programmes.