When you reach for the stars.
On a cold, dreary January evening 2014 I travelled to Kielder where the Kielder Observatory is located in the heart of rural Northumberland with my family in search of the glorious night skies I’d heard so much about.
Unfortunately the weather conditions were dreadful and although we saw the magnificent telescopes the observatory has that enables all visitors to gaze up at the universe, the wonder of the stars remained hidden by a mass of stubborn cloud. Never the less I was captivated by the experience that Gary (the observatory founder) and his small team of volunteers provided.
Being the inquisitive business lady I am, I asked a series of questions about how the observatory came to be? its main purpose? its future and what was Gary’s vision? … At the end of the evening Gary and I exchanged contact information and he and I went our separate ways.
A couple of months passed and it just so happened that later in the year a significant birthday loomed large for me and wanting to mark the occasion by doing something that would help the wonderful region that is North East England I called Gary and explained I’d like to help him realise his dream of delivering the wonder of the universe to the masses, the rest (as the old saying goes) is history.
On November 7th 2014 at my fund raising event “A Night of a Million Stars” we raised in excess of £50,000.00 through the generosity and support of my friends, family and business colleagues.
The evening served as our official launch pad for the continued fund raising required to realise our ambitious plans. Committed to our vision we aim to build the biggest and best public outreach observatory and planetarium in the world right here in our native north east. Many of our team are providing their time and resource FREE such is the passion and desire amongst us to create and provide something truly spectacular for generations across the UK to learn and benefit from long into the future.
Since then I have joined the KOAS board helping the team investigate how we can continue to improve our existing facilities and looking at ways in which we an provide a better overall experience for our now 1000’s of visitors that want to look up at our ‘gold star’ status night skies.
In addition I am, along with Gary and our Chair Rob leading our fund raising project to deliver our 20/20 vision – An astronomy village that will see ordinary people have access to facilities that will bring the wonders of the universe alive for them. A facility that will be used to assist in a practical ‘ hands on’ way for schools, universities and colleges to use to assist students with an interest in STEM related subjects realise the many ways in which they can use their skill sets in a career that best suits their ambitions. An ambitious project that will see Great Britain deliver a world first by providing facilities such as an improved observatory capable of seating up to 100 visitors, a world class planetarium as well as accommodation and restaurant facilities to complete a truly unique experience for all.
Our collective aim is to build a village that will Make a REAL difference by creating a LEGACY for the country that the ordinary man/woman who has an interest in the universe in which we live can benefit from as well as to offer an educational platform that allows students a practical experience that will have a lasting impact now and for generations to come.