THE Ballarat RSL is hoping to rally 320 volunteers to help in a door-to-door fundraiser for its Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial Appeal.
The campaign will see volunteers visit as many as 25,000 homes in Ballarat on Anzac Day to promote the appeal and to accept donations.
The nationwide appeal was launched in July, 1999, to raise $2 million to build a significant memorial near the Ballarat Botanical Gardens listing the names of more than 34,000 Australian prisoners of war.
Response to the appeal was slow initially, particularly from the corporate sector, with only $350,000 pledged to date.
However, campaign organisers hope the monster doorknock on April 25 will get the momentum going again.
Coordinator David Stewart said no specific target had been set, but he was confident a healthy amount could be reached.
``If every house we visit gives just $2, thatChr(39)s $50,000 we can raise for the appeal,Chr(39)Chr(39) Mr Stewart said yesterday.
A total of 34,737 Australians were taken prisoners during the Boer War, World War I, World War II and the Korean War. More than 8000 of those never came home.
Only 2100 are still alive today.
Ballarat resident David Baird worked as a prisoner on the Burma Railway during World War II and is now chairman of the memorial appeal.
``I know there were men working alongside me who died and donChr(39)t have graves. This memorial is one way we can fix that - a proper memorial for them,Chr(39)Chr(39) 81-year-old Mr Baird said.
``I was very young when I was over there, but I came back and have lived life since,Chr(39)Chr(39) Mr Baird said.
``There were plenty of other young ones - 18 or 19 - who didnChr(39)t come back.
``It is important that we do something for them,Chr(39)Chr(39) Mr Baird said.
He said the Ballarat memorial would be a fitting tribute to prisoners of war in other areas of conflict.
``We often hear about Chnagi and the Burma Railway, but there were a lot of people taken prisoner in Europe too,Chr(39)Chr(39) Mr Baird said.
Anyone who would like to help out on Anzac Day can call Mr Stewart on 5332 6848.