Bletchley Park campaigner Sue Black awarded OBE

Sue Black

Bletchley Park campaigner and industry guru Dr Sue Black has been awarded an OBE for her services to technology in the Queen's New Year's Honours list.

In addition to founding the Techmums organisation, which sets out to educate mothers about the opportunities provided by technology, Black was one of the leaders involved in the restoration and preservation of Bletchley Park.

She encouraged hundreds of people to sign a petition to save the historic site, which played a major part in war effort, ultimately allowing the allies to crack the Nazi's complex communication system resulting in victory. In fact, Winston Churchill estimated the role of code crackers such as Alan Turing shortened the war by at least two years.

As a result of Black and other campaigners' efforts, many of the huts at Bletchley Park have now been refurbished and a museum showcasing the site's role in the war has been opened, attracting 300,000 visitors last year.

Before launching her campaign on social media, Black described the dilapidated site as a "gem", although the way it had been left to decay was a "national disgrace."

Although others had tried to get Bletchley Park restored, many attempts had fallen on deaf ears, but her campaign drummed up the support it needed from tech leaders including Google and supporter Stephen Fry who escalated her campaign on his personal social network.

The Bletchley Park Trust congratulated Dr Black on the award and said: "Thousands of people, including Sue Black, contributed to the saving of Bletchley Park over more than two decades. Without their collective work, the site would have been lost forever."

Black said the award was a "wonderful surprise", noting the restoration as her proudest achievement.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.