Four winners at an auction in aid of the Berkeley Foundation have today created their own piece of Crossrail history by riding the tunnel boring machine for a section in the final leg of its extraordinary 42km underground journey.
Brian Bonnyman and Dale Brennan, from O'Halloran & O'Brien and Brenbar Electrical, were awarded the places after giving the highest bids at a charity auction held this month. Their contributions, alongside match funding from the Berkeley Group, raised nearly £19,000.
"We're absolutely thrilled with this amount" said Charmaine Young CBE, Chief Executive of the Berkeley Foundation. "Every penny will be invested in tackling homelessness and helping young people acquire the skills to find a job."
The winners rode in Tunnel Boring Machine, Mary - the latest in a family of tunnel boring machines designed especially for tunnelling under the capital city. The 1000 tonne machine is now in the concluding part of her journey, where she will weave her way between existing underground lines, sewers and utility tunnels to complete the 1.5km tunnel between North Woolwich and East Plumstead.
The drilling of this section of the tunnel is significant not only for the £19,000 it has raised but also for Crossrail's long awaited arrival in Woolwich. It is the result of an 11 year public-private collaboration between Berkeley, the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Greater London Authority and Transport for London. It will transform journey times for local people, connecting commuters to Bond Street in just 20 minutes from 2018.
The regeneration of the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich will create nearly 5,000 homes, over 3,000 jobs in construction and £15.5m investment in the community through Section 106 contributions.
Notes to editors:
1. The Berkeley Foundation was launched in 2011. So far, it has committed nearly £5 million to help young people and their communities across London and the South of England.
2. It targets four key areas - homes, jobs, skills and care - and works through a series of partnerships with major national charities and small local charities chosen by our staff.
3. The Berkeley Foundation is a registered charity. Every penny you donate is spent on charitable activities while the running costs are met by the Berkeley Group.