'Cancelled': Charity set up in Winston Churchill's honour overhauled in 'woke attack'

9 September 2021, 08:12 | Updated: 9 September 2021, 08:24

The rebranding of the charity set up in honour of Sir Winston Churchill has been criticised
The rebranding of the charity set up in honour of Sir Winston Churchill has been criticised. Picture: Alamy / LBC
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A charity set up in honour of Sir Winston Churchill has changed its name and removed all pictures of him on its website in what some have branded a "woke attack".

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust is now calling itself The Churchill Fellowship - a move branded by some of its volunteers as "re-writing history" and pandering to “cancel culture”.

Its website once boasted a 1,400-word tribute to the wartime prime minister, describing him as a "much-loved leader" who had a "bulldog spirit".

However, following the rebrand, all detailed references to the former leader - including a list of his achievements and biography - have been removed.

Read more: Members of the public scrub graffiti of word 'racist' off Churchill statue

Watch: 'Churchill was a fascist': Andrew Pierce's row with anti-racism campaigner

The former Winston Churchill Memorial Trust website
The former Winston Churchill Memorial Trust website. Picture: The Churchill Fellowship
The charity's rebranded homepage
The charity's rebranded homepage. Picture: The Churchill Fellowship

One source reportedly told the Sun: “It beggars belief that the man who saved this nation in our darkest hour finds himself cancelled in this way.”

Images of Sir Winston have been replaced, either by the charity's chief executive Julia Weston or by members of its board of trustees.

The site also now has racism disclaimers across its pages due to some of the views expressed by the ex-prime minister during his lifetime.

Watch: 'Complete rubbish' to brand Churchill racist - grandson Sir Nicholas Soames

Watch: Sir Nicholas Soames: Judge Churchill on triumphs, not his darker moments

On Tuesday, The Churchill Fellowship said the idea behind the rebrand was agreed upon two years ago and that they wanted to keep his surname as it was a “key element”.

A spokesman said the charity - which was set up in 1965 - continues to be “proud of our connection to him and his contribution to saving the world from Nazism”.

However, he added that some of the national icon's views on race "are widely seen as unacceptable today.”

Among those were racist comments he made about Indian people and indigenous tribes in North America and Australia, and his perception of white people being a "stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly-wise race".

But some of the foundation's volunteers have taken exception to the name change, according to the Sun, saying he is being "erased from his own charity by the woke brigade".

One is said to have told the paper: "He was a man of his time, we admit. But to use the kudos and funding to make a new organisation is dishonest.”

Another condemned the move as "bandwagon-jumping", "shaming" and a "woke attack" on Sir Winston.

The boss of the charity - which sends British citizens abroad on travel scholarships known as Churchill Fellowships - announced the name change in an email three weeks ago.

It read: “For some time we have known that our previous name was confusing as it did not reflect what we are about.”

An online blog on the website, titled "Racism is Unacceptable", acknowledges the "controversy" surrounding the former PM's life but also brands him a "leading social reformer". It also states it disagrees with any racist views he had.

The site says the foundation was established “by a nation grateful for his wartime leadership” and that he was a “hugely respected prime minister”. He is not mentioned once on the “about us”’ or “our approach” pages.