Holbeach Hurn businessman’s vision of International Bomber Command Centre officially opens
A project inspired by Holbeach Hurn businessman and former Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire Tony Worth is now officially open to visitors.
International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC), at Canwick Hill, Lincoln, welcomed 300 World War II veterans from around the world, along with thousands of other guests, to an opening ceremony held in cold and foggy conditions on Thursday.
The ceremony at IBCC, the brainchild of Mr Worth who passed away in November 2017 at the age 77, was hosted by broadcasters John Sergeant and Carol Vorderman.
Among the guests were the Bishop of Lincoln, the Right Reverend Christopher Lowson, IBCC patrons Lord Taylor of Holbeach and Lady Sarah McCorquodale, sister of Diana, Princess of Wales, IBCC trustee Steve Ellwood, chairman of A.H. Worth, in succession to Mr Worth, and eight members of Mr Worth’s family.
Jenny Worth, Mr Worth’s wife and another IBCC trustee, said: “It was a really lovely day, despite the weather, and I thought it was just terrific that about 300 veterans, all with their carers, had made the effort to come from all over the country.
“They also came from all parts of the world, including some from Australia and some from Canada.
“The atmosphere was just wonderful, with everybody wanting to be there to commemorate the brave men who went out to do the bombing raids but who were never really recognised.”
IBCC first took shape in 2009 when Mr Worth formed a trust to build a lasting memorial for more than 125,000 Bomber Command servicemen from across the world who served in World War II.
Lord Taylor said: “It was inspiring to meet so many veterans whose presence on such an awful day weatherwise spoke so much of their resilience.
“It was also an honour to share the day with the Worth family for there would have been no IBCC without the late Tony Worth’s leadership.”
It was a really lovely day, despite the weather, and I thought it was just terrific that about 300 veterans, all with their carers, had made the effort to come from all over the country
Nicky Barr, IBCC Chief Executive and Trustee, said: “The opening went really, really well, with 300 beaming, smiling veterans and reunions of people who hadn’t seen each other for years.
“It was absolutely marvellous, with John Sergeant hosting the ceremony during the day and Carol Vorderman hosting a concert in the evening.
“Both of them did a sterling job and, as someone who worked with Tony Worth for 20 years, he would have been as pleased as punch with how the day went.”
Mrs Worth said: “Tony would have been thrilled with it.”