Veteran US astronaut Buzz Aldrin flew into the UK last week to support a charity initiative aimed at promoting IT to disadvantaged UK citizens.
As Aldrin looked on, the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT) announced its projected uses for a #5 million donation to its charitable trust by Steve Shirley, founder and life president of the FI Group.
The WCIT has so far operated out of loaned offices. Last week, as a result of the donation, it took possession of its own freehold premises, at a cost of over #1 million.
The IT in Hospital Schools scheme will also benefit. "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," explained Tricia Drakes, master of the WCIT.
With the equipment, the bedridden user can access the Internet, play videos from the video server, access satellite and terrestrial television and run a wide range of software. Drake 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 Sir Peter Bonfield are among the 600 members of the WCIT.
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