Midland TX – Several hundred people experienced an evening with Winston Churchill’s oldest granddaughter Thursday evening at Midland College hearing her speak about what it was like growing up with one of the most influential men of the 20th century.  She spoke of his character, personality and hobbies, but what really stirred the crowd were her views and perceptions as a Churchill family member. 

Churchill was an avid connoisseur of arts and paintings, animals, making others laugh, pipe tobacco, cigars, champagne and reciting poetry. Celia Sandys, daughter of Churchill’s oldest daughter, Diana, said when she was young she thought all grandfathers were like hers, and the luxuries she experienced with him, she thought common. As she got older she said she became aware of his importance.

A connoisseur of both champagne and war, Churchill would say, “in victory we deserve it, in defeat we need it”.  Sandys also discounted the notion that her grandfather thought of war as sport; she said he was a realist and understood if there were to be war, his side might as well be the victor.

But most importantly and dearly to her, she said, was her time alone with her grandfather. She accompanied him on world-class cruises -- straight from an Agatha Christie novel, she said -- to various vacations for painting excursions in the south of France.  “I had the grandfather the whole world thought it owned, all to myself,” Sandys said.

Celia said Churchill had predicted he would die on the anniversary of his father’s death, and despite a close call in 1962 at Monte Carlo, he eventually died Jan. 24, 1965, 70 years to the day since the passing of his father.

“He always said for the first millennium in heaven he would paint, to get to the bottom of the subject,” she said. “I hope he’s following his dreams for the afterlife today.”