Save the National Memorial to the Few!
We urgently need to continue telling the tale of who won the Battle of Britain in 1940 and teach future generations about their courage.
by Patrick Tootal in Capel Le Ferne, England, United Kingdom
Save the National Memorial to the Few!
The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust cares for the National Memorial to the Few, a clifftop tribute to the men who fought the Battle of Britain in 1940. Despite its name, the National Memorial receives not a single penny in public money, either from central or local government.
This Crowdfunder aims to help redress that balance and support this vital charity. We are aware, though, that not everyone is happy with online donations. For those people, we are both happy and grateful to accept cheques made payable to The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust CIO. They should be sent to The Secretary, c/o PO Box 337, West Malling, Kent ME6 9AA.
As well as looking after the site and preserving the memory of the fewer-than 3,000 men who saved this country from invasion, the Trust is committed to telling their story and educating young people about the bravery and sacrifice of the men Churchill called ‘the Few’.
The volunteers who make up the Trust have worked hard over the past 30 years, firstly to erect the Memorial to those who fought so bravely for our freedom and, since then, to develop the site and the experience it offers. A replica Hurricane and Spitfire, the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall and, more recently, The Wing, a modern visitor centre featuring The Scramble Experience, have all been added.
Now, though, their efforts to remember the Few and teach young people about this important part of the nation’s history face a major setback, with the COVID-19 pandemic having a huge impact on the charity.
Until today (17 July), The Wing and the car park were closed to visitors because of the pandemic. It has left the Trust, which faces running costs of some £240,000 a year, with no income and a funding gap of around £80,000. The shop was shut, The Scramble Experience was shut, the café was shut and the car park was shut. It has now, cautiously, reopened, but faces an uphill task to replace that lost income.
In this short video, our Young Ambassador, Jacob Jennings explains why you should carry on donating to this crowdfunder:
In this short video, Chairman Richard Hunting, Honorary Secretary Patrick Tootal and Site Manager Jules Gomez, explain why should support our crowdfunder:
In this short video, Actor, John Challis, tells you why you should support this crowdfunder:
In this next video, John Nichol, a retired Royal Air Force navigator who was shot down and captured during the Gulf War, explains why you should support this crowdfunder:
In this short video, Actress, Sue Holderness, tells you why you should support this crowdfunder:
In this next video, Mike Ling, the longest serving Red Arrow, tells you why you should support this crowdfunder:
In this short video, Mandy Hickson, the second woman to fly the Tornado GR4 and the former Royal Air Force pilot, tells you why you should support this crowdfunder:
In this next video, best-selling Author and Historian, Dilip Sarkar MBE, explains why you should support this crowdfunder:
Even in a good year, the Trust relies on donations and a ‘Friends of the Few’ membership scheme, together with talks and special events, to make up the difference between those income streams and its outgoings. Now, although the Trust has worked hard to keep the outside features of the site open, including the clifftop Memorial, so that visitors on foot can pay their respects, every event has been cancelled.
Given the setbacks and challenges facing the men of the Royal Air Force during the Battle of Britain, the Trust has been determined to fight on during the battle against the coronavirus. It has organised Facebook Live events from the site, created lockdown material for families to enjoy and kept supporters on board with the latest developments.
The situation, though, is bleak. Even if the Memorial is allowed to open in mid-July it is very unlikely that the number of visitors would generate enough to cover this year’s running costs – and preparing the site to open safely has itself generated extra costs.
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