What is it?
Blind Veterans UK’s Morse Code Machine is a website that allows users to send a message in Morse code to a friend by email or by sharing an internet link. For a donation of £1 or more, each user of the dedicated website can create a 250-character message from a range of sentence starters, including "You’ll never guess what…" and "I have had the best idea…"
How does it work?
The recipient of the message sees the secret code slowly decoded, complete with Morse code sounds. The actor Alec Newman, who is an ambassador for the charity, provides an example that reveals an embarrassing gym experience as the stream of dots and dashes are converted into more recognisable letters.
The charity, which now assists all blind war veterans, is commemorating the centenary of its foundation – it was set up to support soldiers blinded in the First World War. The campaign was begun a few days after Armed Forces Day, which this year took place on 27 June.
What the charity says
Raymond Hazan, the charity’s president, says: "We hope that our Morse code machine captures the imagination of the public to send their friends and family coded messages for small donations. Not only is it a fun tool that introduces a lost skill to a new generation, but it is also for a great cause."
Third Sector verdict
The campaign makes clever and innovative use of old and new technology, with the short code not unlike a Twitter message, and users will have fun composing their secret messages online. It also acts as a timely reminder of the experiences of servicemen and women in both world wars.
It remains to be seen whether the need to make a donation in order to use the tool will stunt its effectiveness, but the Morse code idea makes a good link to the charity’s early roots to raise money for its modern-day cause.