Churchill Tree Ceremony Sunday Jan. 22
By Churchill Foundation Vancouver Island
For several years Les Leyne of the Times Colonist and admirers of Sir Winston Churchill have braved the elements and gathered at the hawthorn tree in Mayor's Grove, Beacon Hill Park, to mark the death of SWC, January 24, 1965 and to celebrate his life.
This year, the Churchill Foundation Vancouver Island has added to the celebration with a Chatfest of pithy and fun observations and stories! The Chatfest will precede the tree ceremony running across lunch from 11:30am to 1:30pm on Sunday (Jan. 22) in the beautiful (and warm) atrium of Parkside Victoria Resort & Spa.
If, like Churchill, you have a taste for luxury, you can book a suite at Parkside for a special "Churchill Rate" of $99 per night this weekend.
Tea and coffee will be provided and you can bring your own bag-lunch or pick up some yummies at Tre Fantastico on site. Speakers will provide 10-minute highlights of their topic and the audience will have time to respond or tell their own stories. Winston Churchill himself (in the body of Ray Kretchmar) will appear and talk about The Blitz. Ray bears an uncanny resemblance to "the man" whom he plays with great humour and admiration!
"This idea of the Chatfest is to have a light hearted celebration of Winston Churchill and to enjoy learning something you likely didn't know or share something you did," said CFVI Executive Director Mayo McDonough.
· Churchill had a butterfly house where he would sit and watch the butterflies emerge from their chrysalis and release them into the garden. The National Trust in England has recently refurbished this house and opened it to the public. Biologist Stan Orchard will tell you more.
· Churchill was instrumental in getting old age pension introduced in England? Paul Summerville, President of the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Vancouver Island, will tell you more about Churchill and Social Justice.
· Churchill had a secret weapon at Bletchley Park? Code breaker Olive Bailey will tell you more.
· Churchill is still inspiring youth today? Grade 11 student Kieran Wilson looks at SWC the Statesman.
· Churchill's role in the Battle of Britain may not have been what it seemed! Jack Dixon author of "Dowding and Churchill the Dark side of the Battle of Britain" will reveal more.
· when Churchill visited Victoria in 1929 his "tipple" was brought to him in a tea pot during prohibition? Author and historian Chris Gainor will share his discoveries about where Churchill went and what he did during his stay. A walking tour map will also be available.
At 1:30pm, award winning reporter and political columnist Les Leyne will share his thoughts on Winston Churchill and lead the gathering to the hawthorn tree in Beacon Hill Park for a 2pm toast to the great man. Here's an excerpt from an article Les Leyne wrote about SWC:
"In 1964, a nine-year-old Colombian girl made up a birthday card and addressed it simply "To the Greatest Man in the World." It arrived at 28 Hyde Park Gate in time for Churchill's 90th birthday. Earlier, a young visitor had walked into Churchill's study at Chartwell while he was composing a speech. "Are you really the greatest man in the world?" the boy asked. "Of course," Churchill shot back. "Now buzz off."
This is a free event and everyone is welcome! More information and a poster with full details are available on Churchill Foundation Vancouver Island's website.