AN Argus campaign to raise money to build a First World War memorial is nearing its goal after a £3,000 donation.
The Royal Sussex Regiment Association is attempting to raise £50,000 for the building of a monument at Priez, France – the site of their first fatalities in the Great War.
The group are now on the verge of raising the total following a £3,000 donation from the Sussex Masonic Charities.
David Dumigan, treasurer of the group, said the offer came about after seeing the appeal for cash in The Argus.
He said: “One of our members saw it in the paper back in March.
“It is fantastic this donation will go to this permanent memorial, which will be there for generations to come.
“This year is very special and we wanted to do something to mark that.”
The Royal Sussex Regiment was heavily involved in the war from the outset and by the end 7,302 had been killed.
The first of those died in a skirmish on the outskirts of the French village of Priez.
The memorial, which has been built in Kingston, will be unveiled at a special ceremony in the village on September 10 – the 100 year anniversary of the battle.
Colonel Roderick Arnold, the Regiment Association president, said: “We are delighted with the donation which will go a long way in helping us reach our goal.
“It is a significant amount and everyone is incredibly grateful. It has taken us extremely close to our £50,000. We are under £5,000 away.”
Among the corporate backers include Asda and Harveys Brewery. Former regiment officers have also donated along with many readers of The Argus and members of the public.
Colonel Arnold said the memorial has been finished and will be transported to France in four or five parts in August.
Mr Dumigan said the links between the Masons and the armed forces had been a factor behind the donation.
He added: “There are a number of links. Many Freemasons have given their lives in various wars over the years so there is a link there.
“The Charmandean Centre, on the outskirts of Worthing on the A27, which is used by the Freemasons was a drill hall used by the military in years gone by.”
To make a donation to the appeal visit mydonate.bt.com/events/priez.
Alternatively cheques can be sent to Major Hudson, made out to “War Memorial Fund” and sent to Mr B Hudson, 29 Henry Avenue, Littlehampton, BN16 2PA.