Historians have today launched a fundraising drive to help replace a statue of a Boer War soldier in a Hartlepool park.
The History of Hartlepool group has won planning permission for a new statue in Ward Jackson Park after the old one was stolen by metal thieves 50 years ago.
Today, the group launched a fundraising campaign, appealing to the public and businesses in Hartlepool to help fund the £25,000 sculpture which is to be made by renowned artist Ray Lonsdale.
History group spokesman Steve Close said: “The original bronze statue was purchased by public subscription in 1906.
“It is now 50 years since the old soldier was stolen, and it is time it was replaced.
“Before we go through the process of applying for grants we would like to attempt to cover the cost of the new structure by donations and collections from Hartlepool residents and companies within the town.”
Ray Lonsdale, who was responsible for the iconic Tommy statue at Seaham, has created a new design for the replacement statue, and will take at least a year to construct.
A plinth, which lists the 320 men from the Hartlepool area who fought in the conflict and 23 who died in battle, is all that remains of the original structure.
Steve added: “Had it been a World War One statue it would have been replaced long before now, but it seems as though the Boer War was less significant than the two world wars.
“About 21,000 men died in the 1899-1902 Boer War in South Africa, many of them through disease 23 of whom were from the Hartlepools.”
The history group has spent the last 26 months working hard behind the scenes on the project and along with the council has the blessing of Historic England.
It has already has raised £4,000 of the £25,000 needed.
Steve said: “The artist estimates somewhere in the region of 3,500 individual pieces of metal to complete the structure, so if we divide that up it is roughly £6 each.”
Everyone who contributes will be included in a commemorative brochure which the history group will produce for the project.
Donations can be delivered to 160 York Road, TS26 9DT, or be paid in direct to a History of Hartlepool charity bank account at Natwest using the sort code 55-81-04, account number 84182202.
Updates on the fund will appear in the Mail.