It is not only a great pleasure but an enormous honour to present the Churchill Medallions today. This year is the 70th anniversary of Sir Winston taking over as Prime Minister, and I know that there is no need to remind anyone in this audience of the immeasurable contribution to our history made by the Greatest Briton of the 20th Century, or the crucial part that he played in leading this nation to victory against all odds.
I am delighted that this ceremony is being watched over by his splendid statue – standing at the back of this great and historic hall – to remind us that no one, during his life time, did more than he to uphold the freedom and democratic values that we all so cherish today.
May I say how special it is to have Lady Soames, Sir Winston’s daughter, here as I know how much she does to keep her father’s name alive and that of this Trust. I would also like to add my condolences to his family and to the Trust for the recent sad death of Winston Churchill – Sir Winston`s grandson – who was the Trust Chairman for many years.
The Winston Churchill Trust today is his living Memorial, reflecting in particular his adventurous spirit, his wide breadth of interests, and his belief in a greater understanding between people of different cultures and countries. I feel certain, that Sir Winston would have gained much pleasure from the broad cross-section of our society and the variety of subjects covered by Fellows over the years, and it’s marvellous to see that we have four of the first Fellows that travelled in 1966 here today.
Now Ladies and Gentlemen, I notice that those receiving Medallions today not only come from every corner of the United Kingdom, but that the range of travels and projects taken across the globe are quite astonishing. You have carried out a wonderfully impressive variety of studies and so made your own contribution to international understanding which, of course, is one of the fundamental aims of the Trust. I have little doubt that each one of you – as well as bringing back huge benefits to your profession and communities in the UK – will also have derived real personal value, and I hope, a certain amount of pleasure from your experiences and are now even better equipped to succeed in your chosen path in life.
You are all worthy recipients of Churchill Medallions and are clearly also fine upholders of the great Churchillian tradition of adventure and service. I therefore want to offer you all my warmest congratulations. I feel sure you will have been strongly supported by your families, friends and employers, and it is a great pleasure to see so many of those here today, to give you encouragement, and applaud your achievements.
So once again many congratulations and my very best wishes for the future to all you Churchill Fellows.