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A piece of BWBF history

Winston Churchill appeal

On this day in 1965, the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill took place – so we’re looking back at our history and our links with the former British Prime Minister.

Winston Churchill appeal

The state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill took place on this day in 1965.

Thousands of people lined the streets on 30th January to pay their respects to the former Prime Minister.

The planning of the funeral arrangements was code-named Operation Hope Not and began in the late 1950s.

A service took place at St Paul’s Cathedral 52 years ago today and Sir Winston Churchill was then buried in the churchyard at St Martin’s Church in Bladon in Oxfordshire.

Our long-time supporters may well be aware of our connection to Sir Winston, who broadcast an appeal for funds for the newly formed charity on Christmas Day 1929.

British wireless was set up in 1928 by Sir Ernest Beachcroft Beckwith Towse, a blinded Boer War veteran.

After serving in the First World War as a staff officer working with the wounded in hospitals in France, he turned his energies to the service of the blind community.

When it was first launched, the charity’s objective was “to provide the relief of registered blind or partially sighted people in the British Islands through the provision of radios and audio players and any other equipment or services necessary to allow them to benefit from the reception of sound transmission in accordance with the Memorandum of Association”.

The first appeal was the one broadcast on the BBC by Sir Winston Churchill the following year.

This time last year, we were delighted to stumble across a piece of our history on eBay – a thank you note written by his wife Clementine on a piece of our headed paper.

The undated note is now in our archives along with other precious items from our past.

The note is to an unmade recipient and reads: “Your gift will make much happiness and to open many doors. Our blind friends are as grateful as I am; and we thank you with all our hearts. Clementine Churchill.”