Final push for statue tribute to infantrymen for Doncaster

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A campaign to honour brave soldiers with a memorial in Doncaster is into its final stage.

The appeal for a statue paying tribute to the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry needs less than £10,000 to hit the crucial £126,000 target.

Stephen Winterburn is working on the memorial for the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, which will be built in Doncaster

Stephen Winterburn is working on the memorial for the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, which will be built in Doncaster

Committee member Percy Potts said the fundraising had been fantastic.

“This is an incredible achievement given the short time we have been campaigning,” he said.

“We’re not quite there and we now appeal for that extra push to keep the momentum going.”

He urged people not to forget about the memorial appeal.

“Don’t give up now,” Mr Potts said.

“The total is achievable with your help and effort.

“Do you have an event you can organise?

“Do you have an idea for fundraising?”

Mr Potts said people needed to dig deep and get the memorial built, and the soldiers honoured.

“Can you spread the word and encourage those who may not have already donated,” he said.

The committee still requires £9,946 to make sure the statue is realised.

The £126,000 covers the memorial and its installation, plus the ground work and dedication ceremony.

The memorial will be unveiled on August 1, 2018.

That day will be the 50th anniversary of the infantry being renamed the 2nd Battalion Light Infantry.

Former soldier Geoff Richardson will be proud when the statue is erected.

He served on two tours of Malaya in the early 1960s.

Mr Richardson said just looking at pictures of the work in progress brought back powerful memories.

He used a light machine gun similar to the one depicted in the statue.

“We called them bren guns,” the 73-year-old Bentley resident said.

“At one stage I was a bren gunner. I can picture that statue as me.

“That’s what I was doing.”

Mr Richardson was in the jungles of Malaya for three years.

He remembered being ambused twice.

One of the occasions was on his 19th birthday, on February 19, 1964.

Mr Richardson took cover as bullets flew overhead.

“I looked up and could see the bullets flying into the trees,” he said.

He came through unscathed that day, but a couple of his colleagues were wounded.

“Nothing happened to me, so you have to say I was lucky,” he said.