AN EX-serviceman from Kidderminster is raising money to restore the war memorial at a town church.

John Russell, a member of St John’s Church, Bewdley Road, says the memorial, which is dedicated to those who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars, is in “bad need of repair” and many of the names were unreadable through weathering.

Mr Russell, 79, who served in the Royal Air Force between 1951 and 1960, has received a quote from stonemasons Kidderminster Memorials of £2,025 for the work to be done.

He said: “I have always been interested in the wars and it is terrible that all these names are vanishing. If you have to raise a few bob to make it look more respectable then so be it.

“Quite a few of the names, over time, are starting to disappear and I don’t think this should be allowed to happen. Having been in Her Majesty’s Forces for a number of years, I think it only fitting the memorial should be restored.”

Worcestershire county councillor for St John’s division, Conservative Marcus Hart, had pledged £500 of his £10,000 divisional funding towards the project.

“The war memorial is at the heart of my division and the refurbishment project will be of great benefit to local residents,” said Mr Hart. “I am delighted to be able to use some of the public money as a contribution towards the project.”

Mr Russell, who used to teach history at Heathfield School, said he had a record of the 169 names on the war memorial and they would be cut and painted back on as part of the restoration work.

He added: “It is very important people are remembered. Every Sunday, I go to the church and I say ‘cheers lads’.”

Anyone who wants to donate to the project should send a cheque, made out to “John Russell (Memorial Fund)”, to St John’s Church, Bewdley Road, Kidderminster, DY11 6RL.