Inspiring Australians

I could hardly believe my luck recently when I  discovered two thingInspiring Australianss:

  1. A book has very recently been published called Inspiring Australians: The First Fifty Years of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, by Penelope Hanley.
  2. It is available through my library in Hobart, Tasmania.

Naturally I reserved it immediately since I could scarely think of a better resource for researching about the Trust to help me prepare my application.

When the book arrived for collection a few days later I raced to the library (a bit nerdy but true) to take it out. Then I proceeded to read it cover to cover in four days. It’s 300 pages long so that’s pretty good going.

It’s an absolutely terrific read – wonderfully-written, engaging, well-paced, cleverly structured, very informed and, of course, inspiring.

I thought I’d track down the author to pass on my thoughts. Turns out Penelope is a communications professional, like me. She’s also a film critic, book reviewer, novelist and – naturally enough – a lover of Argentinian tango.

I found her email on the net and sent her a quick message. Next day she got back to me with this: “Thank you so much for your kind words about the book. Made my day!”

Very nice.



Time for action

“I never worry about action, but only inaction.” Sir Winston Churchill.2017_Churchill_Fellowships_Mrec_final

Several years ago a friend of mine – we’ll call her Sally – suggested I apply for a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

Actually that’s not quite acurate. Sally was talking about her own great experience on a Churchill Fellowship and I’m afraid to say that I drifted away and started thinking about doing something like that myself one day.

But I like to remember that magical day as the moment that Sally unintentionally encouraged me to apply. I have a very active imagination, you see.

Fortunately I also have a good memory. So when I spotted a post on Facebook some years later promoting a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust information evening, I immediately knew what it was about. And I was very keen to find out more.

So on Thursday 23 February 2017 I attended an  event at The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel in Hobart, Tasmania. Having no idea what to expect, I was stunned to find the room absolutely packed with people as eager as I was to learn more.

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re hanging out with ‘your people’, even if you don’t know anyone? Well, that’s pretty much what I felt like sitting in that theatrette.

All the speakers were busting at their seams with enthusiasm for their projects and kept repeating how the experience of doing a Fellowship had completely changed their lives. Each of them, in their own way, was utterly in love with their projects.

I have never felt so excited about the art of preserving old medals or monitoring wildlife populations as I was that night. For a short time afterwards I too wanted to travel to Holland to play the Baroque bassoon.

Their passion was infectious. I asked three questions – three times more than anyone else. I had to stop myself from asking more for fearing of being regarded as a well-meaning nuisance. But I did say hello to the presenters and the CEO of the Trust before racing home to shower my wife with an outpouring of enthusiasm.

Even at this early stage I had a very good idea of what my project would be about. But the details needed working on. And I now had until Friday 28 April to get the application done. Two months and counting.

Time to take some action, Mr Churchill.