The National Trust's purpose is to look after special places, forever, for everyone. The charity was founded in 1895 to protect the nation's threatened built and natural heritage. Today, the Trust acts as a guardian for over 745 miles of coastline, 254,000 hectares of countryside and over 350 historic buildings, which it opens up to over 190 million visitors a year.
The Trust seeks to deepen its visitors' connection to their past and future through the places they love. Campaigns such as the pioneering Neptune Appeal, which safeguards our beautiful coast and, more recently, Project Wild Thing, which helps children get outdoors and closer to nature, seek to protect the precious relationship between people and places.
This year, players of People's Postcode Lottery are supporting Heritage Open Days, which invites all to enjoy free access to England's architecture and culture for four days every September. Thousands of sites across the country – not just National Trust properties – open their doors and put on activities, celebrating the spirit of these wonderful places within their local communities.
The National Trust is also incredibly grateful for players' support in 2014. Thanks to the funds awarded, the Trust was able to fully repair the original steam-powered fire pump at Penrhyn Castle in North Wales, to conserve a priceless military Buff Coat belonging to Seaton Delaval Hall in Yorkshire, to restore the beautiful Axminster carpet from Stourhead's famous saloon, and to support intricate lacquer work on an exquisite Chinese screen and several chests at Osterley House in Hounslow.
Players of People's Postocde Lottery first supported the National Trust in 2013 with a fantastic award of £100,000, which enabled the exciting investigations into a self-portrait at Buckland Abbey, leading to the astounding confirmation of the Trust's first-ever Rembrandt painting. The restoration of this high-profile "selfie" was entirely thanks to players.
The National Trust's current president is Prince Charles.