The Northern Echo is making headlines abroad after launching a campaign to remember a forgotten hero of World War Two.
Andy Mynarski gave his life trying to save a comrade on board a stricken Lancaster which flew out of RAF Middleton St George, near Darlington, 60 years ago.
He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his gallantry but nothing has ever been done to commemorate him at Teesside International Airport, which is on the site of the RAF base.
But after coming across the story, The Northern Echo has launched a campaign to build an eight-foot high bronze statue in Mynarski’s memory.
In two days, the paper raised £13,000 of the £40,000 target and editor Peter Barron is confident that the rest will be raised by the time the statue is unveiled to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the end of the war next year.
The biggest paper in Mynarski’s home town of Winnipeg in Canada, where he is remembered as a national hero, have backed the Echo’s campaign.
The 123,000-circulation daily paper made The Forgotten Hero Appeal front page news and is in daily contact with the Echo for updates.
Editor Nicholas Hirst said: “This is a fantastic initiative which we are proud to support.”
Peter Barron said: “There is a real mood of remembrance around the country because of the 60th anniversary of D-Day and this campaign has really caught the imagination of our readers. The response has been very moving.”
Tony Blair, the local MP for Teesside Airport, has also personally backed the campaign, saying: “This memorial will rightly commemorate the heroism of one extraordinary man.”
Mynarski, who was 27 when he died, had the chance to bail out of the burning Lancaster after it was hit over France.
But he turned back to try to rescue his fellow crew member Pat Brophy who was trapped. Brophy survived but Mynarski died of terrible burns.
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