World War One Victoria Cross (VC) recipient Tom Dresser is to be honoured with a statue in the grounds of Middlesbrough’s Dorman Museum after a two-year fundraising campaign.
The first stone was laid at the beginning of the month with the statue expected to be mounted later this month.
The bronze statue, to be made by acclaimed sculptor Brian Alabaster, has been commissioned to mark 100 years since 24-year-old Tom Dresser was awarded Britain’s highest military honour.
It followed his heroics on May 12, 1917, near Roeux in France, when Private Dresser bravely conveyed a crucial message from battalion HQ to the front line trenches, despite being wounded twice.
One of Private Dresser’s grandchildren, Brian Dresser, who is PD Ports’ engineering manager, said he was pleased work on the memorial is now underway.
He said: “The work currently undergoing is the foundation work and should be complete by the end of the week.
“It is a permanent legacy and the culmination of a lot of people’s work to get to where we are today. So it will be a sort of a long term memorial to his great deeds in the past.”
Mr Dresser, of Tollesby, said the statue has taken a lot of hard work but is an important reminder of his grandfather’s heroism.
“The thing I always remember as a young boy is that if I mention the name Dresser they would associate me with the VC recipient,” he said.
“As time has gone on that has got less so. This is an important tribute from the people of Middlesbrough to one of their fore fathers. It’s about building up that legacy.”
To pay for the £50,000 statue, the official launch of the Tom Dresser VC Appeal Fund took place at the Longlands Club, Marton Road, last May. Since then, donations large and small have been received - from large sums from the likes of Brookfield, Impetus, PD Ports, and the Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Association, to smaller amounts from individuals.
The statue will sit alongside a memorial to another Teesside VC recipient, Second World War hero Stan Hollis.It is expected to be unveiled to the public at a civic ceremony on May 12.