AN APPEAL has been launched to raise £12,000 to restore a war memorial under attack from death watch beetles.

Members of the St Margaret’s Institute are urging North Oxford residents to contribute towards a repair fund for the memorial outside St Margaret’s Church, Kingston Road, which bears the names of 47 soldiers killed in the First World War.

John Ashby, 71, of Kingston Road, a soldier in the First Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment in the 1950s, said the memorial needed major work.

He added: “The base with bronze plaques on is made of limestone. On top of that is a canopy of four oak pillars and an oak dome and the death watch beetle has got into the bottom of the pillars.

“It’s unusual to have a monument only to soldiers from the First World War, and a number of the soldiers who died are not from Oxford.

“We would like to use this campaign to find out more about the soldiers whose names are on the memorial and the circumstances in which they died.

“As a former soldier, I want to do everything I can to ensure that this memorial is restored and properly preserved.”

In front of the wooden pillars, there is a crucifix and a cast-iron figure of Jesus which was made by the former Lucy’s foundry in Jericho.

One of the soldiers whose name is on the memorial is Percy Campbell of the Second Wiltshires, whose nephew is Jim Campbell, former Lord Mayor of Oxford.

Mr Campbell, 70, said: “He would have been 20 when he died in the Battle of Ypres.

“There is no known grave for my uncle, which makes his inclusion on the memorial even more important. He lived in Rawlinson Road before he died, and had two brothers and a sister.”

A number of fundraising events are being planned, including a 1920s-themed dinner at St Margaret’s Institute, Polstead Road, on November 21.

The Rev Andrew Bunch, the vicar of St Margaret’s, said: “It’s definitely time to restore the memorial before it becomes unstable. We would also like to find out more about the soldiers on it.”