Island Life Magazine Ltd April/May 2010 - Page 36

interview Island Life - April/May 2010 PHOTO: Anthony pictured with Andrey Berezkin on President Putin's yacht in his role as trustee for the World Ship's Trust Petershof, Peter the Great’s palace, and student in Russia are good for the Isle of has strong Island connections. Many on the wet grass she danced, without Wight today: remember Cowes’s wartime debt to the any music, the Dying Swan. It was really “We invite people over, such as the then Blyskawica, the ship which was moored in rather beautiful I must say,” says Anthony, number two in St Petersburg, Admiral the harbour during the bombardment on adding: “And I love St Petersburg, its Grishanov, and his colleague Andrey Cowes: it fired off so much ammunition in architecture is superb.” Berezkin who stays here frequently” the town’s defence against the Germans When he and his travelling companions As he talks you wonder why you hadn’t that her guns had to be cooled by sea (Tom Enfield, who became Lord Stafford, noticed all the Island’s links with Russia water. “The Captain of the Blyskawica and Peter Adams, whose father later before. “Ventnor used to be known as a has a concert pianist granddaughter Eva ran the London School of Economics) Russian enclave,” Anthony tells me. The Maria Doroszkowska, who came over and returned to Moscow, the authorities fell famous Russian author Ivan Turgenev played Chopin for me at the Royal Yacht for their story that they’d spent those dreamt up his epic novel Fathers and Squadron, which even my friend [Prime unaccounted days suffering from excess Sons while he was bathing off the sea Minister] Ted Heath bothered to attend,” of vodka, but all in all the trip cemented in Ventnor. And he stayed in the house says Anthony, adding: “Ted didn’t in Anthony’s mind the belief that “all this which is now owned by the violinist really like Chopin very much. He was a James Bond stuff ” had to stop between the two countries. “Europe had to get on terms with Russia because unless Western Europe and a reluctant America moved in with the Russians we could never solve our major problem – of sitting down to talk out our differences with the Islamic countries.” He adds, barely pausing for breath, “so even now I’m involved with that kind of area because here on the Isle ‘‘What Edward Heath loved was to surround himself with people who knew more than he did about anything –music, politics and sailing. He could pull us all together’ of Wight I set up, with Johnny Caulcutt Bruckner, Beethoven and Brahms man.” Here is a junction. Do we follow the Chopin connection (he lived the first half of his life in Poland), which runs like a vein through Mr Churchill’s life, or do we veer off towards sailing? Though in fact even these two are linked. It was while he was president of the Explorers and Travellers Club at Cambridge that he got involved in sailing. “We bought a very old boat to of Yarmouth the British Russian Sailing Richard Studt who performs at Anthony’s do an expedition down the west coast Trust.” annual “Piano for Ventnor” concerts. “So of Africa, and we sailed it up the coast all these things meld in. The policital side to be repaired. But a big gale came and of my life and the sailing side.” unfortunately I was shipwrecked off the And so we have the first of Anthony Churchill’s connections, which will build into something of a spider’s web as Time to get the pencils out again to Essex coast.” Africa ending in Essex this article progresses. The friends and make those connections. Anthony’s didn’t put him off sailing, however, and contacts that began when he was a second place of study, Poland, also after university Anthony started racing big 36 Visit our new website - www.visitislandlife.com