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October 26, 2012

Magna Carta Trust’s 800th Commemoration Committee welcomes Surrey Council £5 million investment in new “Magna Carta Interpretation Centre” at Runnymede:

mc800th

The Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee welcomed today’s announcement by David Hodge, Leader of Surrey County Council, that it has agreed to fund a new “Magna Carta Interpretation Centre” at Runnymede.

Surrey’s contribution will be £5 million pounds towards the required £8 million cost of the fully fitted Centre. The remaining funding will come from donations, trusts, corporations and individuals’ contributions currently being sought by Runnymede Borough Council. 

The Magna Carta Interpretation Centre will welcome British and international tourists and education groups to Runnymede, and provide them with the chance to learn about the impact and context of the Magna Carta, both its history and its relevance today to peoples’ lives throughout the world.
 
The Magna Carta is the cornerstone of liberty, individual freedom, and democracy here in the UK and across the world, yet many people remain unaware of its historical context and how it impacts on their lives today. This Interpretation Centre will help to put that right and restore the Magna Carta’s rightful place at the heart of British culture, and as a seminal event in English and global history. 
 
It will also be a great boost to international tourism, providing a fitting focal-point to mark the sealing of this historic document and at the same time be of great educational benefit to the school children of Surrey and other school groups.
 
Commenting on the announcement, Sir Robert Worcester, Chair of the Magna Carta 800th Committee said:

“The support announced today by David Hodge of a £5 million grant to provide an Interpretation Centre for the Magna Carta at Runnymede sends a signal to the entire world that the people of Surrey recognise the importance of the Magna Carta.”

“The late Lord Denning described the Magna Carta, as ‘the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot’. Surrey County Council have now ensured that Runnymede will host a fitting memorial to one of the county’s most significant events.”

Rt. Hon Philip Hammond MP, Member of Parliament for Runnymede and Weybridge, said:

“I strongly welcome Surrey County Council’s support for the Magna Carta celebrations. The Interpretation Centre at Runnymede, adjacent to the plain on which the Magna Carta was agreed by King John, will provide the people of my constituency, of the UK, and all the democratic nations of the world with a focus for the teaching of the importance of the Magna Carta, and a place to pay homage to the freedom and liberty for which it stands.” 

Stephen Zack, Former President of the American Bar Association (ABA) and Chairman of the ABA’s Magna Carta Committee said:
 
“Nearly fifty years ago, in 1965, the American Bar Association provided a memorial to the memory of that foundation of liberty, the Magna Carta, at Runnymede, where 750 years before, the Magna Carta was  sealed.  In 2015, fifty years later, ABA members will be at Runnymede, joining with others from all the Commonwealth nations and democratic societies. We commend the people of Surrey and their County Council for taking the initiative to fund this much needed interpretation centre.”

Notes to Editors:
 
For more information on the Magna Carta 800th Committee’s work, and planned events in the run-up to the 800th anniversary in June 2015, or to arrange an interview with Sir Robert Worcester, Chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Committee, please contact David Spencer at Chelgate on 07866 349745, [email protected] Also for further information see: www.magnacarta800th.com.

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