VETERANS are celebrating after being granted permission to place a memorial to the men who served in the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) in the heart of the regiment’s home county.
A statue immortalising the sacrifices of the DLI will be placed in front of the Town Hall in the Market Place, in Durham City.
Durham County Council planning officers endorsed the proposals under delegated authority after trial holes were successfully completed earlier this year to test out the ground conditions.
The larger-than-life bronze will symbolise the moment a platoon of DLI soldiers sounded the ceasefire in Korea in 1953 from a hilltop on the frontline – the regiment's last battle honour.
It mirrors one unveiled at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire in July 2012.
Installation work is expected to start in August in time for an unveiling ceremony in September.
DLI Memorial appeal co-ordinator Colonel Arthur Charlton said: “This is great news that we have now have approval for what will be a fitting memorial recognising the history of the County Durham’s own regiment.
“We are now appealing for help to raise the final £25,000 to cover the £75,000 costs of the sculpture.
“We are aiming to officially dedicate the memorial on September 14, following a parade in the Market Place.
“The timing is significant in that the dedication will be linked with marking the start of the First World War in of 12,000 members of regiment died and 11 Victoria Crosses were awarded.”
An appeal for the original memorial was launched after two ex-DLI soldiers – bugler Richard Softley and the late signaller Keith Straughier – visited the National Arboretum and were dismayed to find the DLI was not represented.
More than £90,000 was raised for the statue - much of it coming from The Northern Echo's readers.
The Northern Echo has thrown its weight behind the appeal for the Durham statue as well.
Col Charlton said: “The support we have got through The Northern Echo and from individual donations has been fantastic.”
Councillor Neil Foster, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “I am pleased Durham County Council has been able to work with the Trustees of the Regimental Charity to find a suitable location for what will be a valued feature for both Durham City and the County of Durham.”
Appeal donations can be made payable to the Regimental and Chattels Charity of the former DLI and sent to DLI Memorial Appeal, The Rifles Durham Office, Elvet, Waterside, Durham, DH1 3BW.