A FUNDRAISING effort towards the installation of a poignant stature to help mark Harwich’s role in the Kindertransport rescue has hit a milestone amount of money.

A bronze statue is being created to commemorate the child refugees who escaped Adolf Hitler’s reign of terror in parts of Europe ahead of the Second World War.

The significant humanitarian rescue mission saw about 10,000 children travel from Nazi occupied Europe to the safety of Britain, saving them from the Holocaust.

Hundreds of the children, most of whom were Jewish, arrived in Harwich on December 2, 1938.

And now the Harwich Kindertransport Memorial and Learning Trust, which also wants to run an education programme, has hit the halfway point in its efforts to raise £140,000.

Sculpted by artist Ian Wolter, the statue will show five children descending from a ship’s gangplank and planning permission has been granted for it to be displayed at Harwich Quay.

Thanks to a donation of £22,500 by the Association of Jewish Refugees, the total funds raised have now hit £70,000.

Mike Levy, the chairman of the Kindertransport’s appeal, said: “We are delighted to have received overwhelming support from the AJR which represents those Kindertransport children still with us.

“With the memorial, town trail, audio bench and new history boards around the town, we are sure that Harwich will at last be recognised for the crucial role it and its townspeople played in the rescue of children destined otherwise for murder in the Holocaust.”

Mr Levy is also writing a book, titled Forgotten Rescuers of the Kindertransport, which is due to be published early next year.

“My forthcoming book will also complement this history by telling the full story of the Dovercourt holiday camp used as a first home for hundreds, if not thousands, of the child refugees from Nazi lands,” he said.

Harwich Town Mayor Ivan Henderson added: “This statue will take pride of place in Harwich and the residents here will welcome this great feature.

“It sends a message that we need to be tolerant of all people.

For more information, see www.kindertransport-memorial.org.