SEA’s Director presented with prestigious Churchill Medallion and Pol Roger Award

Dr Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, SEA’s founder and Director, was presented with a Churchill Medallion at a prestigious award ceremony in London this week (Wednesday 13 June). The medallion was awarded to mark the successful completion of her overseas research as a Churchill Fellow.

At the ceremony, Nicola also received the Pol Roger award, which is awarded each year to a Fellow who produces an outstanding Fellowship report and generates effective publicity for their Fellowship. She was presented with a magnum of Pol Roger, Sir Winston’s favourite vintage champagne, by the Pol Roger family.

©Clive Totman 2018

For her Fellowship, Nicola travelled to Australia and the USA to explore innovative responses to financial abuse. It was her determination to ensure that women in the UK have access to the same responses that led her to establish Surviving Economic Abuse (SEA).

Speaking about her Fellowship, Nicola said, “Financial abuse is a tactic used by abusive men to control their partners and limit their choices. Many women feel that they simply can’t afford to leave. My travels overseas gave me new ideas about how we can transform current responses to financial abuse. Being a Churchill Fellow is life-changing. I’d urge anyone who feels passionate about an issue and who wants to make a difference to apply for a Churchill Fellowship.”

The Fellowships were set up in memory of Sir Winston Churchill on his death in 1965. Over 5,400 Fellowships have been awarded since then. Anyone can apply, regardless of age, qualifications or background. Churchill Fellows are funded to travel for 4-8 weeks overseas, researching new ideas that can make a difference to their communities or professions in the UK. Applications are now open until 18 September 2018, for travel in 2019, at www.wcmt.org.uk

This year’s Churchill Medallions were presented by distinguished photojournalist Nick Danziger, whose career began with a Churchill Fellowship that took him across Central Asia in 1982. This year Danziger presented medallions to 130 Churchill Fellows (2016-17) at the biennial Churchill Fellows Award Ceremony. It was held at Church House, Westminster, which was Winston Churchill’s temporary office during World War Two.

The Churchill Medallion itself is a unique piece designed by world-famous glass artist Professor Brian Clarke, himself a Churchill Fellow of 1974. He is particularly noted for his architectural and stained glass. It features a digital image of Winston Churchill in striking blue cloisonné enamel on a solid silver disc, with the Fellows’ name engraved on the reverse. Clarke explains: “The digitised image of Sir Winston is drawn from the iconic portrait by celebrated photographer Yousuf Karsh, taken in 1941. It is intended to glow with the reflected light of the silver, through the transparent vitreous enamel.”