United Kingdom

Bill Gates and David Walliams back Mail Force drive to boost children's learning during lockdown

Heartfelt support for the Mail Force campaign has arrived from one of the pioneers of home computing – Bill Gates.

The co-founder of Microsoft gave his staunch backing to the Mail's drive to get laptops to schoolchildren.

The US philanthropist, 65, said: 'There is no limit to what young people can achieve if they have the right resources and are able to access quality digital learning online.

'It's vital, with so many kids stuck at home, that we equip more students with the tools they need to succeed and prevent inequalities from deepening.'

In the 1980s, Mr Gates' vision of a computer in every home helped make Microsoft the world's largest supplier.

Heartfelt support for the Mail Force campaign has arrived from one of the pioneers of home computing – Bill Gates. The co-founder of Microsoft gave his staunch backing to the Mail's drive to get laptops to schoolchildren [File photo]

Further backing to the cause came from David Walliams, the award-winning comedian and best-selling children's author.

He has donated a generous five-figure sum to the campaign and hailed its crusade to help poorer children cross the 'digital divide' between those can access online lessons and those who cannot.

He said: 'I am pleased and proud to support the Mail's campaign to put computers into the hands of children who need them most. I was shocked to learn of the extent of the digital divide that exists in this country.

'A computer and WiFi is something many of us take for granted. We need a fairer society and education for all is a pillar of that.'

The award-winning comedian and best-selling children's author David Walliams has also voiced his support for the Mail's campaign [File photo]

Walliams is a hit with children due to his books such as Demon Dentist and The Beast of Buckingham Palace. He is also a judge on ITV's Britain's Got Talent.

The star added: 'I know these are tough times, but if you are fortunate enough to be able to help, please join me in this fantastic initiative from the newspaper.' 

When the campaign was launched on Saturday, England rugby star Maro Itoje said: 'We must strive for every child to have an equal education because it is the one gift that stays with them for life and opens up their world.'

And former education secretary Lord Blunkett said: 'Quite simply, our children need laptops if they are to learn. 

'That is why I am backing the Mail's campaign to get the equipment, connectivity and conditions right for youngsters to have everything they need to be able to learn at home and begin catching up in the months and years ahead.'

Businesses step up 

Generous firms have started coming forward in their droves to help the Mail Force campaign.

Scores of companies offering their laptops to help children have been in touch with campaign team organisers over the weekend.

Firms with 50 or more computers to give can contact our expert IT partners, who handle the process securely. A careful assessment process ensures the machines meet the minimum specifications.

The computers are then collected and wiped to industry gold standards.

Among the first companies to volunteer include a bank and several medium sized enterprises. Computers from individuals cannot be accepted, for technical reasons.

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