Royal honour for founder of St Anthony of Padua charity
A prominent Dorset Catholic who founded the St Anthony of Padua Foundation was honoured to meet Her Majesty the Queen at a reception to mark the 50th anniversary of The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.
Peter McArdle, from Ferndown, attended the reception at Buckingham Palace in recognition of his role with the Foundation, which came about after he was invited to become a Churchill Fellow by the memorial trust.
Also in attendance was Fr Patrick Cope, England and Wales Senior Catholic Prison Chaplain, based at the Ministry of Justice Prison Headquarters. Fr Cope, who is also a Fellow, is chaplain to London’s Tyburn Convent, Shrine of the Martyrs, at Marble Arch.
He spoke to the Queen about his prison work, telling her about Tyburn Convent and how the nuns have one of the main altar candles with a plaque titled: For The Queen and England.
The Queen showed great interest and asked him to convey her thanks to the nuns for their prayers along with her greetings.
Since 1965, over 5,000 British citizens have been awarded Churchill Fellowships, which they use to travel overseas to study areas of topical and personal interest. The knowledge and innovative ideas they bring back are shared, for the benefit of their profession, their community and, in lots of cases, the nation.
For many people, a Churchill Fellowship proves transformational, and they go on to achieve great things – effecting positive change within society.
Peter went on his Fellowship in 1989 to the Netherlands to investigate services to support independent living for people with physical disabilities.
Since then his Fellowship has helped him in his charity work, including founding the St Anthony of Padua Foundation.
The foundation works with statutory agencies, focusing on purpose-built housing schemes and establishing a sheltered workshop, offering training, work experience in office work, computing and printing.
Fellows from every decade since 1965 represented the Trust at the reception, as well as representatives from The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in Australia, and the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States.
To mark its semi-centennial, the Trust has just awarded a record number of 150 Travelling Fellowships – investing at least £1.3m in British citizens. This year’s Fellows will travel to 58 countries between them, across six continents, where they will carry out a wide range of projects. The average length of a Fellowship is six weeks.
Many events are being held throughout the year to celebrate Sir Winston’s life and legacy.
“We were delighted and honoured that the Queen hosted a reception to mark our anniversary year. Sir Winston’s legacy lives on through our Fellows – individuals who, like him, have vision, leadership, a passion with a purpose, and a commitment to help their fellow citizens” says Jamie Balfour, director general of The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.
See www.wcmt.org.uk for further details.