VETERANS campaigning to create a memorial to the men to who served in the Durham Light Infantry in their home county have been overwhelmed by the response to their appeal.

Within days of The Northern Echo throwing its weight behind the appeal, organisers have received £640 from readers – and hope it will be the start of a steady flow of contributions toward the goal.

Appeal co-ordinator Colonel Arthur Charlton said yesterday: “I received £205 today, on top of £435 since the weekend.

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“It is all in response to Friday’s Northern Echo article – people must have written the cheques as soon as they saw it.

“We have had 15 donations ranging from £200 to a fiver.

This demonstrates the level of support out there for the project and the regiment.”

Col Charlton said trustees of the former DLI had decided to set an initial campaign target of £68,000 – symbolic of the 68th Regiment of Foot who were raised by General John Lambton in 1758 and were the forerunners of the DLI.

He added: “We have had an encouraging start to the campaign - particularly with defence minister Mark Francois lending his support.

“We also have Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for Durham City, backing us.”

The statue will symbolise the moment when DLI buglers sounded the ceasefire in Korea in 1953, and will be a replica of a statue unveiled in the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire last July.

An appeal for the original memorial was launched after two ex-DLI soldiers – signaller Keith Straughier and bugler Richard Softley – visited the arboretum and were dismayed to find the DLI was not represented.

More than £90,000 was raised, much of it coming from Northern Echo readers.

While there is a popular museum bearing its name and a DLI memorial garden at Durham Cathedral, campaigners feel it is important there is a visible monument for people to visit in the city. Among the sites suggested include the Market Place, Silver Street, the green at Old Elvet and near to Durham Cathedral.

Donations for the appeal, made payable to the Regimental and Chattels Charity of the former DLI, should be sent to DLI Memorial Appeal, The Rifles Office, Elvet Waterside, Durham, DH1 3BW