A carpenter is working around the clock to prevent a campaign to restore a vandalised war memorial in time for Remembrance Sunday being thrown into jeopardy.

The monument at St John the Baptist Church, Old Malden, toppled over when vandals ripped a strip of lead worth less than £5 from its roof on Monday, September 5.

Former paratrooper Stuart Allen, who now works as a carpenter, is confident he will have finished the repairs to the 90-year-old oak memorial by Thursday, November 10.

However church warden Tony Davis said even if the work is completed on time he is seriously concerned about how they will reinstall the heavy monument on its concrete base in the graveyard.

He said: “There are all sorts of logistical issues so even if it’s finished I am not 100 per cent confident we will manage to get it in place for Remembrance Sunday.

“I have looked into if we need to get a fork lift truck or something but we are talking about a graveyard here so there are concerns about knocking over grave stones.

“It’s just a question of how on Earth they get it there. I have no idea how they did it in 1920.”

The attack on the monument was one of many across the country as they are being targeted by vandals who plunder them for metal. The War Memorials Trust estimates that at least one wartime monument is being targeted every week because of the rising price of scrap bronze and copper.

The church feared it might have to cancel its annual remembrance service if they couldn’t raise the funds to have the memorial restored in time.

But the community has rallied round and have nearly raised the estimated £3,200 restoration bill through the Surrey Comet’s Honour the Fallen campaign.

Insurers Ecclesiastic also agreed to help cover the cost of the restoration, excluding the rotting wood.

The church hopes a solution will be found to reinstall the memorial for an unveiling ceremony before their annual parade on Sunday, November 13.

Donate online, or send cheques to Honour the Fallen campaign, St John the Baptist Church, c/o Surrey Comet, Second floor, Allied House, 29-39 London Road, Twickenham TW1 3SZ.