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Weekly saves war memorial in time for Poppy Day

A local newspaper has been victorious in a campaign to raise enough funds to restore a vandalised war memorial in time for Remembrance Day.

Last month HTFP reported that the Surrey Comet had launched its Honour The Fallen campaign after thieves had climbed the memorial in a church’s grounds to steal lead worth less than £5 from the top, causing it to topple over.

The memorial will now be fixed in time for Sunday after enough money was raised to restore it.

Carpenter and Comet reader Stuart Allen, who spent ten years in the Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers, has restored the 90-year-old oak memorial that stood in the grounds of St John the Baptist Church in Old Malden.

The church had feared it may have to cancel its annual Remembrance Day service – but the Comet stepped forward and offered to help raised the thousands of pounds needed to repair the memorial.

It launched its Honour the Fallen campaign last month to encourage readers and groups to contribute to the £3,200 needed to repair the structure.

The editorial team spent a day last month handing out fliers in Kingston to raise awareness of the campaign.

News editor Julia Kennard told HTFP that the campaign was launched to try and ensure the vandals did not win and that tradition could continue.

She said that readers had donated from £10 to £1,000 and three of the reporting team from the Newsquest owned paper also took part in a run to raise funds for the cause.

The newspaper’s efforts saw enough money raised to restore the monument with further funds coming from the insurance company.

The memorial has stood in the church grounds since 1921 and honours the 13 local men who lost their lives in World War One.