A sculptor from near York is hoping to raise £28,500 to create a two-metre-tall bronze statue of Captain Sir Tom Moore to place in a hospital as a tribute to the Second World War veteran.
Andrian Melka, of Bolton Percy, said he hopes the sculpture will provide inspiration for staff, patients and visitors and remind them that “one step in front of the other will get you somewhere”.
The statue will portray the 100-year-old fundraiser giving the thumbs-up as he completed 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden ahead of his milestone birthday last year.
Mr Melka said he was inspired by that moment to create the full-size statue – which will have a seat on the walking frame to enable people to interact with the sculpture.
He said: “I started after the death of Captain Sir Tom with a little model, just thinking of that moment when he finished his laps and he just raised a thumb up and he was quite inspiring to me seeing that.”
He added: “What made me decide was his determination for doing what he wanted to do at the age that he was and it just reminded me of that old generation who fought in the Second World War.”
Mr Melka said he began the two to three-month process by making a small model and will go on to create a full-size statue in clay before making a mould for the sculpture to be cast in bronze by a London-based foundry.
He has set up a fundraising website to raise the money needed to cover the costs of the foundry and has so far raised more than £12,000.
He said: “It’s very expensive because it’s an extensive process, it’s a very long process and very skilled process.”
The sculptor moved to York to work as head sculptor with the renowned carver Dick Reid, before setting up his own studio in 2003.
He has been talking to Leeds hospitals about the possibility of donating the statue.
He said: “My intention is for this to go into hospital and to be used for inspiration for the nurses working there, mainly, and for the people being there visiting the hospital and interacting with the statue as well.
“It will be amazing because, first of all, what he did and the money raised for the NHS, and for the hospital to have this there and just remind themselves that one step in front of the other will get you somewhere.”