CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating a major boost in their bid to honour one of Hampshire’s greatest naval heroes.

A project to restore a 75ft monument built in memory of Admiral Sir Harry Burrard Neale has been handed nearly £100,000 of Lottery cash.

The huge payout will fund most of the work needed to refurbish the Grade II-listed obelisk overlooking Lymington.

Funded by public subscription, the monument in Walhampton Lane was completed 175 years ago to celebrate the life of Sir Harry, who lived nearby in a huge house that is now Walhampton School.

As reported in the Daily Echo, Sir Harry rose to become Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet.

He captured or destroyed 20 enemy vessels during his career as well as helping to defeat a mutiny and was also an MP for a total of 25 years over a 40-year period.

The restoration of the monument is being hailed as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to refurbish the Egyptian-style obelisk.

Campaigners are planning to reverse the ravages of time by cleaning and repairing the structure. Some of the paving slabs surrounding the base of the monument are due to be replaced and improvements to the drainage system are also proposed.

The £132,000 project has received a £97,800 grant from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Lymington and Pennington Town Council has also chipped in by contributing £2,000 on top of the £2,500 it put towards the cost of funding the Lottery bid.

Retired dentist Dr Don Mackenzie, of the Lymington Society, is chairman of the Burrard Neale Monument Restoration Project.

He said: “A great deal of work has gone into this bid, which contains not only plans to upgrade and restore the monument, enabling it to survive for decades to come, but which also includes an exciting and wide-ranging programme of community benefits .

“We look forward to working with the town council to put in place the necessary resources and personnel to take this project forward.”