A SUPERMARKET giant has offered to donate thousands of pounds towards a statue commemorating a Walton war hero.

A group of Walton residents have been raising cash for a life-size statue of Private Herbert Columbine.

The former Walton resident died in the First World War, after staying at his post to keep enemies at bay while his fellow soldiers escaped.

He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross medal for his bravery.

Now residents want to raise £50,000 for the statue to remind people of his story and inspire future generations.

Tesco, which is hoping to build a new store in Walton, has offered to donate £18,000 to the fund.

They would also provide a space for it on the proposed site for the store, at the front of the Martello Caravan Camp site.

The statue would be placed at the entrance of the footbridge connecting Mill Lane with the store.

Michael Turner, who has been spearheading efforts for the Herbert Columbine Fund, said: “We're absolutely delighted to be offered the site and the contribution by Tesco.

“We hope it will raise the profile of the Herbert Columbine story and will help us raise the remaining £32,000 we need to make this dream a reality.”

The donation is conditional on Tesco being given planning permission for the store from Tendring Council.

It is due to be discussed at the planning meeting in December.

If permission is not granted Tesco said it would still like to help with the fund, but would have to find alternative ways to do so.

People can donate to the statue fund by calling 01255 677088 or emailing columbinefund@hotmail.co.uk