PLANS have been unveiled to place a memorial immortalising the sacrifices of the Durham Light Infantry in the heart of the regiment's home county.

Veterans have revealed proposals for a statue in Durham City’s Market Place, where preliminary work is set to start near the Town Hall this week.

The larger-than-life bronze will symbolise a moment a platoon of DLI soldiers sounded the ceasefire in Korea in 1953 from a hilltop on the frontline.

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It will be a replica of a statue in the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire unveiled in July 2012 after 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, campaingers felt it was important there was A more visible monument for people to visit in the city.

Appeal co-ordinator Colonel Arthur Charlton said: “We are delighted that Durham County Council has agreed that the statue can go in the Market Place.

“Based on exploratory drillings test the precise spot has yet to be confirmed.”

He added: “The trustees and the DLI veterans have all wanted the statue to be in the centre, in the Market Place, because it is the most prominent place - and is where all the parades have taken place.

“The statue is of a Korean soldier and DLI paraded through the Market Place on its way to Korea. Durham is the spiritual home of the DLI.

He added: “We have set a symbolic fundraising target of £68,000, because the DLI was the 68th Regiment of Foot.

“But we can’t finalise what the costs are going to be until we know exactly what the plinth has to be like.”

The Northern Echo has thrown its weight behind the fundraising appeal. 

The county council confirmed today (Monday, January 27) it had agreed to help DLI trustees with their request for a statue in Durham.

A council spokesman: “One of the sites under consideration for the location of the sculpture is in Durham Market Place, near to the Guildhall. The trustees will require planning permission.

“Trial holes to determine precise ground conditions, including underground utilities, will start this week.

“Following the trial holes a temporary resurfacing will be in place until any formal decision is made.”

Councillor Neil Foster, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “I am pleased the county council is able to assist the regimental charity in this matter and I am sure that wherever it is sited the sculpture will be a valued feature for both Durham and the County of Durham.”