Fundraising efforts going well

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Full-steam ahead . . . . Ted T'Auvergne statue fundraising committee members (from left) Greg Paul, Sandy Doolan, Raymond Francis and mayor Craig Rowley are delighted with the support for the project.

Fundraising for a sculpture of Waihao Forks soldier Ted d’Auvergne has passed the half-way mark.

A small group of local people, including Waimate Mayor Craig Rowley, has commissioned former Oamaru-based artist Donald Paterson to make a life-sized sculpture of the soldier who died in Crete in 1941, aged 35.

Mr Paterson is also responsible for creating the Bushman, who sits on the corner of Queen St and Victoria Tce.

Mr Rowley said the group was well on its way to achieving its initial fundraising target of $46,400, with just over $26,700 raised by the community, along with a $9900 grant from the Community Trust Mid and South Canterbury.

Ted d’Auvergne was a Waihao Forks soldier who left an unopened bottle of beer at the Waihao Forks Hotel, intending to finish it after returning from World War 2, but was killed in action.

The sculpture depicting him is set to be unveiled to the public on Anzac Day, 2020.

Mr Rowley said he would be excited to see the sculpture in place outside the Waihao Forks Hotel.

“The story of Ted d’Auvergne is widely known both nationally and internationally, bringing many visitors to view Ted’s Bottle and hear his story.

“This sculpture will also commemorate all soldiers from rural New Zealand who left small communities and went off to war. A brass plaque dedicating the sculpture to The Rural Soldier will be attached to the platform.”

To raise the remaining funds, the fundraising committee will be selling tickets to a monster raffle outside Waimate New World, and there are plans for a second quiz at the Waihao Forks Hotel.

There is a Give-A-Little fundraising page, and donations can also be left at BNZ Waimate.