As you know, Churchill College is currently closed (as the UK is now in lockdown) to all but essential staff during these extraordinary times, and we have had to send most students home, other than those for whom the College is their main home. With sadness we have had to suspend our usual warm welcome to our alumni and supporters as we are all doing our bit to help in combating of COVID-19. We will be in the extraordinary position of having very few students on site and no formal undergraduate teaching next term.   

You may already have heard about the cancellation of planned alumni and donor events due to the pandemic. We will be in touch when we have been able to rework our plans for what was going to be a year of celebration around our 60th Anniversary, and a clearer picture of when life may return to a more normal pattern.

These are difficult days, full of uncomfortable uncertainty on many fronts. The loss of regular social contacts with many family members and friends will be a major blow to our lives as we are used to living them. The fact we have no idea how long we need to live under these extraordinary circumstances is, quite frankly, frightening. But, ever since I arrived in this College 5 1/2 years ago, I have been struck by the sense of community here at Churchill. Everyone, whatever their role, shares in the mission of the College of advancing academic research and teaching, looking after the welfare of our students,  and also in playing their role in the wider social context. As Sir Winston said ‘How little we should worry about anything other than doing our best.’

Many of our Fellows and alumni are playing a critical role in research in the biomedical, epidemiological and logistical fields in order to combat the pandemic. Our thoughts are especially with those of our alumni who are directly affected, or who are on the frontline of healthcare delivery round the world and keeping essential services going, at risk to their own health.

In due course we will come out the other side of the crisis, still strong and proud. Thank you all for your ongoing support and the work you are doing during these challenging times.

With my thanks and best wishes. Stay safe, wherever you are

Athene Donald, Master Churchill College