Veteran US astronaut Buzz Aldrin flew into the UK today to support a charity initiative aimed at promoting IT to disadvantaged UK citizens.
The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT) announced the first steps it has taken as a result of a #5 million donation to its charitable trust by Steve Shirley, founder and life president of the FI Group.
The WCIT, which became the City of London?s one hundredth Livery Company in 1992, has so far operated out of loaned offices. Today, as a result of the donation, the Company took possession of its own freehold premises, at a cost of over #1 million.
Tricia Drakes, master of the WCIT, outlined a number of project areas whose resources would be boosted by the donation scheme.
For example, the IT in Hospital Schools project. ?Starting with an initial approach from the Royal Chelsea Hospital, to provide PC equipment for one of the hospital?s long term patients to allow her to continue her education, the project has developed into a scalable, repeatable concept branded as EZ-IT (making IT easy) which provides a blueprint for recreation, education and technology in hospital schools," she explained.
Drakes explained that, from the bedside, the user can access the Net, play videos from the video server, access satellite and terrestrial television and run a wide range of software. She added that Shirley?s donation would enable the WCIT to implement such schemes on a far wider scale.
Aldrin congratulated Shirley on her donation and commented: ?The IT industry is on course to become one of greatest wealth creating industries of all time. I hope that many more successful IT leaders will follow Steve Shirley?s example and donate some of their private and corporate wealth to helping the WCIT increase the range and reach of its charitable activities.?
Following the announcement, the WCIT held a lunch meeting with several of the richest IT CEOs in the UK in the hope that they would offer similar donations.
Both Bill Gates and BT's Peter Bonfield are among the 600 members of the WCIT.
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