FOUR years of tireless campaigning was finally rewarded as a memorial was unveiled to honour volunteers from Oxford who fought in the Spanish Civil War.

Hundreds of residents visited South Park in Headington on Saturday to remember the 31 men and women with links to the city who joined the International Brigade and fought against the forces of General Francisco Franco in the civil war from 1936 to 1939.

For Woodstock resident Colin Carritt the unveiling brought back feelings of pride and admiration for his father and uncle, who both fought in the war.

His uncle Anthony Carritt was killed while driving an ambulance during the Battle of Brunete near Madrid and his father Noel Carritt suffered a shrapnel injury to his hand in 1936.

The 72-year-old said: “My dad was one of those people who did not worry about the past and said you needed to think about the future.

“One of the things we wanted to highlight was the fact that these were volunteers who fought against intolerance and fascism - unfortunately we are beginning to see those ideals coming back into society.

“We see the strength of the International Brigade volunteers as a sign against intolerance which is always lurking underneath the surface.

“It is very satisfying to have the memorial up and it is for all the volunteers who spent their time fundraising and sending out money to the campaign as well.”

Both Mr Carritt’s father and uncle are named on the memorial, which also boasts a granite fist holding a scorpion – a symbol of the fight against fascism.

The memorial, designed by sculptor Charlie Carter, cost about £30,000.

Campaigners had faced a number of delays when trying to find a home for the memorial due to complaints about the suggested locations, with Bonn Square and another location near the war memorial in St Giles both previously rejected.

John Haywood, one of the campaigners for the memorial, said he was delighted that finally everything had come together to remember the volunteers.

The 68-year-old from Banbury said: “This is the third site that has been suggested for the memorial and we are just so pleased that everything has now slotted into place so we can have a permanent reminder of those amazing volunteers.

“It is in a fantastic place because it is right in the heart of Oxford where lots of people will come and see it.

“We really needed to recognise the contribution that Oxfordshire made to the war in Spain, which a lot of people believe was a precursor to the Second World War.

“It was astonishing to me to learn that until ours was unveiled on Saturday, Oxford was one of the only places in the country that did not have any type of memorial for those who fought in the civil war.”