Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Tuesday, 4th October - Bletchley Park

Today's charity was the Bletchley Park Trust. As you know the magnificent Bletchley Park was home to the codebreakers during WW2 who worked at cracking codes and eventually helped bring the end of the war forward by several years. Churchill famously called them "the Goose that laid the golden eggs but never cackled".

MrM and I visited Bletchley Park a couple of years ago and I cringe when I remember balking at the £10 entrance fee - having been around the grounds, the house and museums, I recall that £10 was a very small price to pay (the entrance fee not only lets you in for the day - you can return any time you want to a year from that date), so it was a pleasure to donate today. It's definitely worth a visit, and I remember having a lump in my throat as you can really feel the presence of the people that scurried here in secret during the war. You can see the fabulous Enigma machine (which looks like a typewriter), see the wooden huts where people worked discretely (ie they had no idea what other people did and how each other's work interconnected) and you can see one of the first modern computers which takes up a whole room.

I am also a big fan of Alan Turing who was the mastermind behind breaking the Enigma Code here at Bletchley. When I was quite young, I spotted a very small sign at Sherborne School (that's the lovely town where I grew up) honouring him and was intrigued as to why it was so tiny. (Incidentally, Turing's first day at Sherborne School coincided with the General Strike in 1926 meaning that he cycled from Southampton to ensure he got there on time).

Turing should have been honoured for his contribution to the war effort, and is to my mind, one of the most important heroes of the war. Of course, that's not what happened. In court as a witness to a burglary, he accidentally implied that he was gay. This was punishable by injection to "fix" his homosexuality. He died two weeks later, some say suicide, but others say it was accidental. What a way to treat a war hero.

If you're interested in helping preserve this fascinating part of modern history, then please consider donating so that Bletchley can stay open. You can even do it by text.

£1.7million in match funding must be raised by the Bletchley Park Trust in order to unlock the £4.6million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the restoration of Bletchley Park. The crumbling Codebreaking Huts have been offered a lifeline by the HLF but it is a race against time to raise the funds needed to complete the investment package before they are lost to the nation forever.

When the Codebreakers wrote to Churchill, in October 1941, starved of resources to do their essential work, Churchill immediately ordered, “Action this day! Make sure they have all they want on extreme priority and report to me that this had been done”.

Exactly seventy years on we are repeating Churchill’s request. The Bletchley Park Trust has received tremendous support over the past few years but now a permanent solution is so close and we need public support more than ever. In broad terms each £1 from you will unlock £2.70 more from HLF.

The goal of the Trust, for the past twenty years, to preserve Bletchley Park is now clearly in sight. YOU can now help make the difference in making the exciting restoration plans a reality in proud memory of the extraordinary legacy of the wartime Codebreakers and all they gave us.

Please donate here or use your mobile phone to text BPRK99 and the amount you would like to donate to 70070 (e.g. BPRK99 £1). Terms and conditions apply. Please help us promote the Action This Day! campaign by blogging about it or placing it on Twitter or Facebook. For corporate sponsorship opportunities contact Kelsey Griffin, Director of Museum Operations, or call 01908 640404

Thank you for your support. Action This Day!

The Bletchley Park Trust.

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