King and Queen open Winston Churchill Education Centre with special classroom for schools on 80th D-Day Anniversary

Their Majesties The King and The Queen officially opened ‘The Winston Churchill Centre for Education and Learning’ at the site of the British Normandy Memorial today (6 June) on the 80th anniversary of D-Day. The unveiling of a plaque took place at 11.30am following the national commemoration.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, chair of the Normandy Memorial Trust, General Lord Richard Dannatt, and Chair of BAE Systems, Cressida Hogg, among other VIPs and dignitaries were in attendance.

The Winston Churchill Centre has been funded through a donation of £600,000 from the trust’s principal sponsor, BAE Systems.

The Ministry of Defence has also contributed to the construction of the centre, alongside the Normandy Region, the Department of Calvados and the Seulles Terre et Mer Community of Communes.

The new building houses two educational exhibition galleries telling the stories of those who fought on D-Day and in the Battle of Normandy, curated by The Royal British Legion.

A specially designed classroom for use by schools from the UK, France and beyond will enable younger generations to understand our past and learn about the effort required to make the Normandy Landings possible. The centre will be open to the public from tomorrow (Friday 7 June) onwards and entry is free.

This is a historic milestone in the evolution of the memorial project.

The creation of the centre will fulfil the trust’s ambition to help future generations learn from the events of summer 1944 and keep alive the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

General Lord Richard Dannatt, Chairman of Trustees of the Normandy Memorial Trust said: “This year is the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied landings which opened the door to Western Europe’s freedoms.

“The Normandy Memorial Trust is building ‘The Winston Churchill Centre for Education and Learning’ at the British Normandy Memorial. The purpose of this education centre is to ensure that new generations never forget what Britain did for Europe in 1944 and to remember the sacrifice of so many.

“We are delighted that the centre’s ‘principal sponsor’ is Britain’s leading defence company BAE Systems. Like us, they recognise the importance of understanding the past and learning its lessons.

“We are deeply grateful for their support as indeed we are to our French partners, the Normandy region, Department of Calvados and the Communauté de Communes, Seulles et Mer (STM).

“I should also like to thank the Churchill family for agreeing to the centre being named after Britain’s distinguished wartime prime minister.”

Cressida Hogg, chair of BAE Systems, said: “We are privileged to be able to play a part in creating the Winston Churchill Centre for Education and Learning to permanently commemorate the D-day landings.

“As a company with a strong heritage in protecting our armed forces, I’m incredibly proud that we can honour the courage and sacrifice of those men and women who gave so much to protect our freedoms.

“Sadly, with a dwindling number of surviving veterans, D-Day will soon pass from living memory. So, it’s more important than ever that we find ways to permanently mark their place in history, enabling young people to understand our past and learn the lessons from it to shape our future.”

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