Lottery funding worth £3 million has been awarded to the group behind the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) project on Canwick Hill in Lincoln.
The Lincolnshire Bomber Command Memorial Trust (LBCM), in partnership with the University of Lincoln, received Round 2 funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) on Wednesday, January 20.
The money will be used for the creation of the exhibition, community engagement and education programmes, and digital archive for the Bomber Command Centre.
Digital archives preserving thousands of previously unseen personal stories and documents including the recollections of some of the few remaining survivors of the campaigns, will be housed at the centre.
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 January 15 with the backing of celebrities such as Dan Snow, Carol Vordeman, Jim Dooley, Dame Judi Dench and John Sergeant.
The campaign, titled “Are You One in a Million?”, aims to get one million people to donate at least £3 towards the project honouring those who served or supported Bomber Command.
The IBCC unveiled its first physical element, 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.”
Jim Dooley, 70’s popstar and fundraiser said: “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.”
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, said: “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 HLF in the delivery of this project is vital to securing its long term success.”
Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “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.”