OBE for Bletchley campaigner Sue Black

Rory Cellan-Jones
Technology correspondent
@BBCRoryCJon Twitter

image copyrightSue Black
image captionDr Sue Black recently penned a book about Bletchley

It is one of Britain's most important historical landmarks, but in July 2008 the wartime codebreaking centre at Bletchley Park was in a sorry state.

That month I met Dr Sue Black outside one of the dilapidated huts where Alan Turing and thousands of others had worked to break German codes.

Dr Black, then a lecturer at the University of Westminster, had got a hundred fellow computing academics to sign a letter to the Times lamenting the neglect of Bletchley Park.

That helped to start a hugely successful campaign to restore the site, and now her contribution has been recognised with the award of an OBE in the New Year Honours list.

Today, many of the huts at Bletchley have been refurbished and the museum, which tells the story of a place which Churchill said had shortened the war by at least two years, has attracted nearly 300,000 visitors in 2015.

Sue Black had launched her campaign after a visit to the site had left her upset by what she saw, describing Bletchley Park as a "gem" whose condition was a "national disgrace".

image captionThis recreation of the Colossus mark II is one of the computers preserved at Bletchley's National Museum of Computing

Others had been battling for years to make the same case without much success, but in 2008 social media was just beginning to play an important role in campaigning, and Dr Black made full use of it.

Twitter luminaries including Stephen Fry added their voices to the call for action, and Google was among a number of technology companies to put both money and influence behind the campaign.

The Bletchley Park Trust congratulated Dr Black on the award and said: "Thousands of people, including Sue Black, contributed to the saving of Bletchley Park over more than two decades. Without their collective work, the site would have been lost forever."

Sue Black told me the award of the OBE for services to technology was a "wonderful surprise", and she describes the Bletchley Park campaign as "my proudest achievement."

But she has also been an inspiration to women wanting to get involved in the technology world.

Having left school at 16, she only began her university education at the age of 25 as a single mother with three children, and went on to found the UK's first online network for women in tech.

And another woman who has been an inspirational figure in technology is also recognised in the New Year Honours.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionCode Club's creator is also honoured

The co-founder of Code Club, Clare Sutcliffe, receives an MBE for services to technology education.

The organisation, which uses volunteers to teach children how to program computers, was launched in 2012 and now runs clubs in schools right across the UK.