British Wireless for the Blind Fund

British Wireless for the Blind Fund is a British charity and a private company limited by guarantee. Founded by Sir Ernest Beachcroft Beckwith Towse in 1928, the organisation provides adapted radios and audio players on free loan to registered blind and sighted UK residents over the age of eight, where hardship circumstances can be demonstrated by receipt of a means-tested benefit. British Wireless for the Blind Fund has been providing specially adapted radios to visually impaired people for more than 80 years, it prides itself on providing a personal service to each individual. For people with sight loss, life becomes a challenge. BWBF is committed to providing a choice of high quality, specially adapted radio and audio sets on a free loan basis, undertaking to repair or replace equipment free of charge if necessary and is committed to monitoring new developments in radio technology and endeavouring to adapt these to the needs of recipients where possible, it is made up of a small team of 17 staff, most based at its head office in Maidstone and four regional development managers who work around the country.

The charity is supported by a network of local agents blind societies or local authority sensory teams. It has around 45 trained volunteers who help across the charity. There are around 40,000 people with BWBF sets across the UK and the charity aims to distribute around 3,500 new sets each year. British Wireless for the Blind Fund was founded in 1928 by Ernest Beachcroft Beckwith Towse, who had lost his eyesight in action during the Boer War, he was awarded the Victoria Cross. for two acts of bravery, the second of which cost him his sight. At the time of foundation, radios were known as wirelesses. Although concession had been made in the 1926 Telegraphy Act, waiving the license cost for a wireless, the price of a radio was still prohibitive for many blind people. BWBF aimed to remedy this situation. Winston Churchill broadcast the first BBC radio appeal for funds for the newly formed BWBF on Christmas Day, 1929, starting a tradition of broadcast appeals that continued until the 1980s, he said: A fund has been started known as the “British Wireless for the Blind Fund”.

Its object is to provide. All the British Societies working for the welfare of the blind population and in touch with their wishes are agreed that this is much the best thing to do for blind people at the present moment. We cannot say “Let the blind see” but we can say – and it is the motto of this Fund – “Let the blind hear”. We cannot rescue them from darkness but we can rescue them from silence. One would have thought wireless was made for the blind. Just close your eyes for a moment and keep them closed. Fancy you can never open them again, and supposing someone came and put a little instrument in your hands which you could hold to your ear and listen for hours at a time to music, dances... and all that these inspiring programmes offer. Why, you wouldn't feel half so shut out, you would feel yourself back in the world. Following the appeal, the first 100 crystal radio sets made by Burne-Jones & Co Ltd were issued to blind people at a cost of 31/6d per set. Headphones cost 7/3d a pair. File:Crystal radio for the Blind.tif/thumb/right/Crystal radio issued early 1930s Winston Churchill made another Appeal at Christmas in 1930 asking for a further £20,000 to provide another 10,000 people with radios.

He reminded listeners that it had been a year since he first appealed for the cause and wondered whether the year had gone for blind listeners. He said. "That mysterious lamp of inner conscientiousness will be continually fed by your unfailing care. The blind will hear, by hearing, see." By 1931, £37,000 had been raised and 17,000 radio sets provided to blind listeners. In 1932 Lord Snowdon made the appeal, asking for donations to provide 2,000 more blind people with sets. James Ramsay MacDonald, Labour Prime Minister between 1931 - 1935, continued the tradition and appealed for additional funds on behalf of British Wireless for the Blind Fund from his home in Lossiemouth on Christmas Day 1933. Legislation, passed in 1945, exempted blind people from having to pay purchase tax on radios. BWBF has had many distinguished chairmen since Towse. Of note is Sir John Wall, chair from 1977 to 1991. A distinguished lawyer and high-court judge, Wall did not consider his blindness an impediment to his career and outside of his professional life, served the blind community in a number of roles.

The first president of the fund was H. R. H; the Prince of Wales. Later to become King Edward VIII; the first adapted radio set issued was a crystal radio receiver with a Braille dial. In the 1990s, a Magnum ‘1 valve’ receiver made by Burne-Jones & Co. Ltd. of London was discovered complete in its original postal packaging. The box contained not only the set but batteries, earphones, a coil of copper aerial wire and some china “egg” insulators; the 100-foot aerial wire was needed to give a strong signal. In 1932, when the D9150 was issued and when receiver controls had been simplified, setting up the set would have required some skill and would not have been easy for someone with a visual handicap. Like the crystal set, all the early Magnum radios manufactured for

Gorman, California

Gorman is an unincorporated community in northwestern Los Angeles County. Tens of thousands of motorists travel through it daily on Interstate 5. Gorman is a historic travel stop in Peace Valley, at the Tejon Pass which links Southern California with the San Joaquin Valley and Northern California. Gorman is 1,530 acres in size, it lies where three Transverse System mountain ranges meet, namely the Sierra Pelona Mountains, the Tehachapi Mountains, the San Emigdio Mountains. One of the Mountain Communities of the Tejon Pass, it is southeast of Frazier Park and south of Lebec. Interstate 5 runs through Gorman, State Route 138 connects to the freeway a few miles south. California poppies and other wildflowers cover the hills in the springtime when there is sufficient rain; the San Andreas fault slices directly through Gorman, running below Interstate 5 as it traverses in a southeast–northwest direction. The U. S. Census Bureau does not break out separate population figures for this small place, but in 2005 Gorman had only 15 homes and a dozen registered voters.

Gorman is "one of the oldest continuously used trail and roadside rest stops in California," as the Native Americans of California "would have stopped there when it was the Tataviam village of Kulshra'jek" explains Mountain Communities historian Bonnie Ketterl Kane. The Spanish and Mexican colonial El Camino Viejo passed through the area en route to Old Tejon Pass; the route of the Stockton–Los Angeles Road went through Tejon Pass after 1852. The Gorman area was part of an 1846 Mexican land grant; the first American settler in the area was a man named Charles Johnson, after 1853. The 1853 account of Lt. Robert S. Williamson of the vicinity for the transcontinental railroad survey expedition report makes no mention of any habitations on the east side of the pass, only that a good wagon road passed through it. After Johnson's death, his widow, Soledad Girado ran the place, which by 1855 had become known as Rancho la Viuda. Historian Frank F. Latta noted that the Johnsons' daughter, was the only girl to study at the historic Escuela Normal of Los Angeles in the 1860s.

A man named. In 1857 a woman was killed on his ranch when the great Fort Tejon earthquake struck the area and collapsed the roof of his adobe house. Reed built a substantial log house, which became Reed's Station, on the Butterfield Overland Mail 1st Division Stations in 1858. A stop for the postal stagecoach, it was located 8 miles southeast of Fort Tejon and 14 miles west of French John's Station; the Butterfield Overland Mail ceased in 1861, but was replaced by the Telegraph Stage Line, which stopped at most of the former stations, including at renamed Gorman's, where the horses were changed. Six of them were used for the pull up Tejon Pass from Bakersfield to Gorman's, it was next bought by David W. Alexander, the sheriff of Los Angeles County, who sold the place to James Gorman Sr. in 1867 or 1868. The log "public house", which furnished food and liquor, soon became known as Gorman's Station. Gorman was a veteran of the Mexican–American War of 1848 and was at Fort Tejon as a civilian teamster and herder in 1854 while it was being built.

In 1876, Gorman Sr. died. The first post office was established in December 1877 with Henry Gorman James' brother, as the postmaster. Gorman's widow, continued to run the family farm and the roadside rest until she died in 1889. In 1898, the ranch was bought by Oscar Ralphs, whose brother, had begun a business in Los Angeles that became the Ralphs supermarket chain. In 1901, Oscar Ralphs married Mary McKenzie, who, as Mary Ralphs served 57 years on the Gorman School Board and was honored for her service by Vice President Hubert Humphrey at a National School Boards Association convention. Ridge RouteThe Ridge Route road through Gorman was paved in 1919. In 1923, the first gasoline station in California to be located away from a railroad track was established by Standard Oil. Gorman was a stop on the Ridge Route, Highway 99 after 1926, where its Standard service station beckoned travelers, it was a rest stop for the Greyhound bus until 1977, for long-distance truckers, who now use a Pilot Flying J station in Lebec.

"Being located on the busiest highway in California," wrote historian Kane, "the people of Gorman knew well the need for an ambulance, as so many of the injured were brought to their homes. An ambulance service was established in 1932 with the purchase of an old Packard automobile, converted into an emergency unit, equipped with one stretcher; the ambulance could be reached through the switchboard at the motel, whoever was available would drive it."Aviator Charles Lindbergh established a camp in 1930 on the northeast side of the Gorman Hills, where he tested and flew a folded-wing glider called the Albatross. Interstate 5 replaced U. S. Route 99 through Gorman and over Tejon Pass in 1964; the Umbrellas"The Umbrellas," a site-specific art installation by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, surrounded Gorman and Tejon Pass in late September and early October 1991. It was created with 1,760 large yellow umbrellas, placed from the roadsides to the mountainsides. A simultaneous installation of blue umbrellas was created in Japan.

Thousands of visitors flocked to Gorman from all over the world. In January 2006, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected a bid by 32 of the area's 75 property owners to give up Gorman so it could be annexed to Ker