Chris Tarrant backs WWI hero Fred Potts statue funding bid
Chris Tarrant has backed a bid to raise £165,000 for a statue to commemorate the only man from Reading to win a Victoria Cross medal.
The broadcaster and quiz show host, who was born in the town, was asked by the Trooper Potts Memorial Trust to help.
Fred Potts was recognised in 1915 for rescuing comrade Arthur Andrews during the Gallipoli campaign in World War I.
Tarrant was unveiled as a patron of the charitable trust at a press conference.
A design for the statue, which has risen in cost by £15,000, has already been chosen and it is hoped to be in place at two possible locations in Reading by the centenary of the rescue in August 2015.
The two men were injured while advancing on the Turkish line and hid below the Turkish trenches for two days.
Eventually Trooper Potts, who had been shot in the thigh, used a shovel as a sledge to drag the badly-injured Trooper Andrews to safety.
The Trooper Potts Memorial Trust was set up after his bravery was highlighted in a BBC Radio Berkshire documentary.
Tarrant, who lives in Berkshire, said: "My dad was a war hero, he was awarded the Military Cross, but I knew very little about what he did until we did a film about him a couple of years ago.
"He was my closest friend but he never talked about the war.
"I'm a Reading boy and the Potts story is amazing, he's an absolute hero.
"We should have a memorial for him, so I'm asking people to dig deep, we're going to be going around with our begging bowls."
The trust's Richard Bennett said about £25,000 had already been raised and was hopeful that figure would rise to £50,000 before Christmas.
A number of further fundraising events are planned.