Best-selling novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford visits Churchill College to view the writings that inspired her own career. The author donated the treasured letter she received from Clementine Churchill to ensure that a “piece of history” can be enjoyed by others.

Novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford has written 31 books and sold nearly 90 million novels. But among the author’s most precious pieces of writing is a letter from Clementine Churchill during the dark days of World War Two.

In 1943, Barbara was a child growing up in Yorkshire when she helped raise the princely sum of £2 for the Red Cross Aid to Russia fund through a jumble sale. In return, to her amazement, she received a personal letter of thanks from Clementine, wife of Britain’s inspirational wartime Prime Minister.

Dated April 1943, and on 10 Downing Street headed paper, the PM’s wife wrote in the now yellowing two-page letter: “I am most grateful to you for the trouble you have taken to help the heroic Russians in their terrible but heroic struggle against the wicked invaders of their country.”

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While Sir Winston’s own writings remain world-famous, his wife’s literary endeavours are less well known.

However, as Barbara Taylor Bradford’s letter reveals, Lady Churchill clearly played a key role marshalling support and boosting morale on the Home Front – in this case bolstering the spirits of a nine-year-old girl.

On June 13, the author will visit the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College, Cambridge, to see the original drafts of some of Sir Winston’s most famous speeches, books and journalism.

In return, the best-selling novelist will pass on her own humble bequest to the remarkable archive – handing over her treasured letter from Lady Churchill.

She says: “When I was growing up in Yorkshire during World War II, I wanted to do something to help the war effort. Encouraged by my parents, Winston and Freda Taylor, I held a jumble sale in my mother’s garden.

“Small kitchen and household items, given to me by my mother, grandmother and aunts went on sale. At the end of the afternoon, everything had been sold for a few pennies each, but everyone was well pleased.

“Can you imagine the lovely surprise for this little girl to get a personalised reply from the wife of the iconic Winston Churchill?

“I have treasured that letter ever since. However, I wanted to ensure that this piece of history can be enjoyed by many more than those who visit my home.”

As a wartime child, Barbara Taylor Bradford has never forgotten the power of Sir Winston’s rhetoric.

Booming through the speakers of family radios across the nation, it gladdened hearts and strengthened morale when events were at their darkest.

Indeed, the famous Churchill broadcasts form the backdrop to the plot of her latest novel The Cavendon Luck, the latest in the best-selling Cavendon saga, which is published by HarperCollins this week (Thursday 16 June 2016).

As the storm clouds of war gather, it follows the inhabitants of Cavendon Hall from Yorkshire to pre-war Berlin, via Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain and the Blitz, weaving a gripping historical family saga against the shattering backdrop of World War Two.

Needless to say, Churchill’s iconic speeches play a key part in the novel.

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Talking of her own special letter from Lady Churchill, Barbara Taylor Bradford adds: “I’ve recently gifted it to Churchill College in Cambridge because I believe this is its rightful home.

“I have treasured that letter ever since. However, I wanted to ensure that this piece of history can be enjoyed by many more than those who visit my home.”

The formal presentation will take place during her visit on June 13, 2016, in the presence of Celia Sandys, granddaughter of Sir Winston, and Allen Packwood, Director of the Churchill Archives Centre.

Allen Packwood, Director of the Churchill Archives Centre, said: “Barbara certainly understands the power of words, and has already helped the Churchill Archives Centre display some of its treasures in her adopted home city of New York.

“It will be a pleasure and an honour to show her some more of his writings, including his one and only attempt at a novel.”