A MEMORIAL to the 544 heroes who fell during the Battle of Britain was unveiled at moving event in Weymouth.

The monument at Bowleaze Cove was officially opened with a ceremony attended by local military figures, veterans and councillors.

The project is the passion of Weymouth resident Rob Oliver, who has spent the past 25 years helping ex-RAF veterans from 152 (Hyderabad) Squadron who served at RAF Warmwell during the Battle of Britain.

He set up a crowdfunding page to raise money for the memorial and was helped by many local businesses to bring the fitting tribute to life.

Mr Oliver said: "It's really strange seeing it all finished, I can't quite describe it.

"My own project has been 25 years working wife the Hyderabad Squadron, that's been 25 years of my life and this is the final chapter.

"It's majorly important for the area, everyone thinks of Kent and London when it comes to the Battle of Britain and they don't realise the role Weymouth and Portland played."

A large crowd gathered as prayers, poems and bible readings were read out and the ribbon was cut by 97-year-old RAF veteran Peter Price. He said: "That was indeed an honour [to cut the ribbon]. It is wonderful to see all of those names up there. I really appreciate everything Rob has done."

Weymouth Mayor Cllr Graham Winter said: "It's a privilege to be here and it is a fitting memorial to all the people who served during the Battle of Britain.

"It's all down to Rob, he raised the money for this and made it happen and that is magnificent."

The project has been supported by many local businesses, such as WPE Engineering who kindly paid for the three plaques with the 544 names on them, M&P Bricklayers who built the memorial and Beachside Cafe who gave the land for the memorial to be built on. MKM Building Supplies gave the memorial team discounted materials and Ardosia Slate donated the slate which was used.

Local councillor Louie O'Leary said: "On behalf of the people of Preston I'm very honoured that it's in our area and I'm grateful to Rob for all the work he has done."