Today the Free Press's campaign to back a regimental memorial in Doncaster is complete - with its £126,000 target in the bag.e
Work has been completed on the sculpture which will be the central focus of the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry Memorial, due to be unveiled later this year at Elmfield Park, and now it has been confirmed the fundraising target has been reached.
The statue was shown this week to the former KOYLI soldiers who are raising funds for the memorial, by sculptors Ben Winterburn, Steve Winterburn and Roxy Winterburn, based in Hull.
Appeal secretary Percy Potts, who was involved with the fundraising effort, has now confirmed that the full amount of £126,000 has now been achieved.
He said: "This has been in large due to the generosity of the public, various institutions and trusts and former members of the regiment from as far away as South Africa and Thailand.
"The statue depicts a patrolling soldier of the KOYLI during the Malayan Emergency of 1948 – 1951 during which the regiment lost 31 soldiers to enemy action.
"The completed memorial is to be placed in Elmfield Park, Doncaster with the gracious permission of Doncaster Council on August 1 2018 when over 300 people are expected to attend this dedication.
"There is still much work to be done by the sculptor. Foundations have to be prepared to support the plinth on which the statue will rest, when the statue is finally positioned, the memorial will reach a height of 12 feet.
"The plinth which is four sided Yorkshire Stone will bear a plaque on each side containing the names of KOYLI VC Winners, the Regimental Battle Honours and the KOYLI Badge and Motto. In addition there will be a separate dedication plinth at the side of the main monument which will give a brief history of the appeal and will also contain the Regimental Prayer."
Fundraising chairman Major Dave Wroe said: “The statue is nothing short of magnificent, it honours generations of KOYLI soldiers, many who hailed from one of our greatest recruiting areas, Doncaster. It is also a testament to the skill and accuracy of the sculptor, Mr Steve Winterburn. We are grateful to all who have contributed to the Memorial and to Doncaster Council for all its permission, help and advice.
"We are honoured that at last there now exists a memorial to this famous Yorkshire Regiment."
Doncaster was one of the major recruiting grounds for the regiment, and is home to its regimental museum.