The Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial Trust (LBCM), in partnership with the University of Lincoln, has been awarded Round 2 funding of £3 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the creation of the exhibition, community engagement and education programmes and digital archive for the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC), it was announced today.
However, the Trust still needs to fund the building of the Chadwick Centre, which will house these facilities. To raise the £3.8 million needed to build the centre the IBCC launched a major fundraising campaign on 15 January with the support of celebrities such as Dan Snow, Carol Vordeman, Jim Dooley, Dame Judi Dench and John Sergeant. Entitled “Are You One in a Million?”, the campaign aims to get 1 million people to donate at least £3 plus gift aid, reflecting that during WW2 over a million men and women, from over 60 different nations, served or supported Bomber Command.
The project, which was launched in 2013, unveiled the first physical element of the project, the Spire Memorial and Walls of Names, in October 2015 with an audience of 2,600 guests including 312 WWII Bomber Command veterans, thought to be the largest gathering since 1945.
President of the Bomber Command Association, Air Commodore Charles Clark DFC, said “Knowing how difficult it was to raise the funds for the memorial in London, it is exciting news that the HLF are supporting this worthy project. We have to do everything we can to ensure this project is delivered whilst we still have some veterans alive.”
Dan Snow, historian and ambassador of the project said “There are few more deserving projects in the UK than the International Bomber Command Centre. Lincolnshire needs a proper memorial to the service personnel who faced appalling conditions as they did their bit to liberate Europe from fascism. There is no other centre in Britain or any other country where the history of the bomber offensive can be preserved, gathered, curated, studied and debated. This centre will be a world leader.”
The project will also create an archive that digitises and preserves thousands of personal stories and documents including the recollections of some of the few remaining survivors of the campaigns. Much of this information has never before been available for public view.
Jim Dooley, 70’s Popstar and fundraiser says," It is absolutely wonderful news that HLF have agreed a grant to fund the archive and exhibition installation for the IBCC. A really significant milestone has been achieved, many thanks and congratulations to all who have played a part. The race is really on now, to raise the necessary funds in order to build the Chadwick Centre that will house the archive and exhibition.
In wartime Bomber Command, over 1 million individuals internationally played a part. If we could now find 1 million individuals to donate at least £3, gift aided, we could reach our target in no time. I appeal to all those who wish to see the exploits and sacrifices of wartime Bomber Command endure for future generations, to please donate now."
Once open the Centre will have a dedicated education team working with schools, colleges and lifelong learning groups visiting the centre and through outreach programmes including the creation of specialist schools’ packs and an educational online portal.
Chairman of the Trust, Tony Worth CVO says “All of those who served deserve recognition for their unstinting sense of duty, bravery and sacrifice. Their story is an enormously complicated one and includes not only those who served but those who supported them and those who suffered as a result of the campaigns. These are the people that this project will bring to life and honour. It will be an invaluable asset for the telling to future generations of the extent of the contribution of all those involved in Bomber Command in the defence of our liberty. The support and recognition of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the delivery of this project is vital to securing its long term success”.
Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “Bomber Command was truly international, with casualties from 62 countries and on five continents. This project has also demonstrated its importance with support from across the world.
“There are a wealth of stories connected to Bomber Command that, until now, have never been fully told. We are proud to offer this National Lottery support to interpret the full story of its activities and to record the testimonies of veterans as well as those affected by the bombing. It will be an essential resource to help us all appreciate and reflect on people’s experiences during this important period in world history.”
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