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Left to right, University of Chester Business School students, Franceska Shollo, Cheryl Sorensen, Chloe Tonge, and Jessica Kelly (right) with Jack Churchill.

Jack Churchill, descendant of Sir Winston Churchill, unveiled a plaque at Churchill House at the University’s Queen’s Park Campus. The plaque included a quote attributed to Churchill himself, and suggested by his great-grandson, Jack: “We must strive to combine the virtues of wisdom and daring”.

Sir Winston Churchill was the inspirational statesman, writer, orator and leader who led Britain to victory in the Second World War. He served as Conservative Prime Minister twice - from 1940 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955.

The official opening is also one of a number of activities taking place this academic year as part of Chester Business School’s 20th anniversary celebrations.

Part of the University’s Business School, Churchill House was built in 1937 as the Western Command headquarters for the west of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and was much used during World War Two. Leaders such as Churchill, French General De Gaulle and US supreme commander Eisenhower reputedly met in this building for top secret meetings. There was also a secret network of underground rooms underneath Churchill House which were related to the war effort which are currently sealed off. Both Churchill House and the newer Bridge House building used to be the regional headquarters for Lloyds Bank until 2009.

Not only an academic site, the Queen’s Park Campus also operates as a much sought after corporate hub for a wide range of partners from the public and private sector.

Jack Churchill is a board member of the International Churchill Society and of BATA (British Assistive Technology Association). He is the Co-founder and CEO of Scanning Pens, one of the world’s leading suppliers of mobile scanners. These portable electronic devices are predominantly used to support people with dyslexia to read independently in class, exams and the workplace. Jack – also known as John Spencer Churchill - lives in Wiltshire with his wife Charlotte and three children.

As part of his speech to the Business School, he described one of the members of staff at his business, Scanning Pens, who coincidentally happened to be a Business School Graduate. He said: “Two and a half years ago we were beginning to build a team based out of an office in Telford, Shropshire. One of the first people we hired was a young chap called Jim. He struggled greatly at school. At the age of 16 he was finally diagnosed with dyslexia, got the support he needed for his studies, went to college and then came on to do a business degree here at the University of Chester. Jim is a rising star at Scanning Pens and has been promoted to business development manager for Ireland. He’s got tonnes of confidence and never turns down an opportunity to further himself. I rang him yesterday and said “You went to Uni in Chester– how was it?” He replied “Amazing!””

After unveiling the plaque, Jack Churchill was given a tour of the building by Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Wheeler and member of staff, Chantal Bradburn, who shows visitors around the site as part of the popular annual Heritage Open Days.

Jack Churchill said: “It has been a great pleasure to be here in Chester to open this great building and to celebrate 20 years of the Chester Business School. Sir Winston Churchill was a great proponent of higher education, wholeheartedly understanding the benefits a University can bring. My great-grandfather never attended University, but I feel absolutely sure he’d be very proud of the fact that his name has been added to the front of this noble and historic building that served out its duties in World War Two.”

Professor Tim Wheeler, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester, added: “We are delighted that Sir Winston Churchill’s great-grandson has officially opened Churchill House – named in honour of his great-grandfather, and in celebration of the building’s history. The University is very fortunate to have such a wonderful facility as this and I believe that Churchill House is the finest Business School building in the country.”

A video of the opening can also be viewed at:

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