Lincoln BIG and Lincoln Visitor Information Centre – which it manages – have raised £1,060 for the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) on the edge of Lincoln.
Staff at the Visitor Information Centre in Castle Hill sold raffle tickets for an eye-catching quilt, which had been on display in the tourist office to coincide with the visit of the Poppies: Wave sculpture to Lincoln Castle.
And former Bomb Aimer Les Rutherford - who had a lucky escape from an exploding plane over Germany, thanks to his parachute opening – was on hand to draw the winning and runner-up raffle tickets, when staff from Lincoln BIG and the Visitor Information Centre toured the IBCC site.
Visitor Information Centre Manager Michele Sims said: “We couldn’t resist buying the beautiful quilt, made by Bee-spoke Quilts, which features poppy panels. We are thrilled that it has enabled us to raise funds for the IBCC, which is designed to recognise and remember all who served in Bomber Command.
“The winner of our quilt is Jill Edgell from Grimsby, but we have also drawn four runner-up prizes – each for two people to visit the IBCC and tour the site.
“In line with Lincoln’s 1916-2016 commemorations, we are also continuing to raise funds for the IBCC, by donating a percentage of souvenir sales to this project.”
Quilt Winner Mrs Edgell said: “I was really surprised and very happy to win the quilt, because I never win anything! I am also hoping to visit the International Bomber Command Centre.”
During their tour of the IBCC site, Director Nicky Barr updated Lincoln BIG and VIC staff on progress at the development, which is already attracting worldwide interest and which has been acting as a catalyst in bringing together ex-service colleagues, family and friends.
Currently, groups which have toured the site (by appointment) have been able to see the 31.09 metres high Corten steel Spire, the length of the wingspan of an Avro Lancaster Bomber.
By looking through the memorial, visitors can get a clear view of Lincoln Cathedral – a key landmark for Lincolnshire-based World War Two Lancaster crews returning home from their sorties.
There are also Corten panels bearing the names of some of the 26,296 Bomber Command crew members who flew whilst serving in 1 and 5 Groups, and lost their lives. More panels and names are still to be added, bringing the total count to over 58,000 individuals. Sixty nations were involved in the conflict.
Next to be built is the Chadwick Centre, which will boast its own education suite, exhibition area and restaurant. Lincoln and International Peace Gardens are also being developed.
“So far we have raised £7.5 million towards our £9m target for the project. This includes a National Lottery grant of £3.1m, to be drawn down over five years. So, we still have to raise a further £1.5m,” said Nicky.
“We are delighted that Visitor Information Centre staff have led the way in raising more than £1,000 for us, for the IBCC. It is due to open to the public in July 2017, although we are offering free tours now.”
The site for what is the UK’s largest war memorial was chosen because Lincoln is a central point for the 27 Bomber Command stations that earned Lincolnshire the nickname “Bomber County.”