Final festive push to create memorial to navy divers in Portsmouth

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A FESTIVE fundraiser is being staged by the Royal Navy’s diving and mine warfare community in a bid to complete an ambitious memorial at their spiritual home.

They are two-thirds of the way towards the £340,000 target needed to erect the Vernon monument in Portsmouth, but are hoping a crowdfunding splurge over the festive season – encouraging many people to donate a small amount – will raise at least £50,000 towards the goal.

The bronze memorial depicts a diver dealing with a moored mine, both of which are mounted on a plinth.

It was designed by Australian-born sculptor Les Johnson – who has previously sculpted memorials for firefighters, miners and Battle of Britain fighter group commander Keith Park.

The aim is to site the striking monument in Vernon Creek – once a berth for minehunters based at HMS Vernon, the home of mine warfare and diving for more than seven decades until the mid-1990s, and now a water feature in the middle of the Gunwharf Quays leisure/shopping complex.

It’s taken six years for the project to reach this stage. The cash raised by this latest push will help to pay for the plinth supporting the statue under the water.

Those keen to help can make a crowdfunding donation until February 8, 2017, by visiting. www.crowdfunder.co.uk/vernon-mine-warfare-and-diving-monument
And to follow progress with the memorial, see www.vernon-monument.org or head to visit www.twitter.com/VernonMonument