This was a truly memorable day – not least of all because the forecast rain didn’t fall. We had lots of people praying for fine weather and the Lord must have heeded our prayers. When we arrived at 9am to put out the poppies along the paths, there were black clouds overhead, but by the time the service stated at 11am we had blue skies and hot sun – Thanks Lord!
Ted Bickford and all his assistants, young and old, helped us put out double rows of poppies along all the pathways and a single row around the inner garden areas. When we realised we still had more poppies on the Velcro strips, the young girls decided to put the letters ANZAC out on the bank behind the memorial.It looked great too. The poppies with dedications on them were placed at the back of the main monument. We had about 4,500 poppies on the Velcro strips - lots of work by many many women!
Graeme Kernick, secretary to the Tuncurry-Forster RSL sub-branch, was the MC and did an excellent job, despite having to stand sweltering in the hot sun for a long time. Early in the service, he acknowledged the work done by the Great Lakes 5000 Poppies project and then asked Julie and I to come forward. We were surprised and honoured to each receive a medal for our work in starting and encouraging the work of all the ladies who contributed to the great visual display there. We feel the medals belong to all the contributors, not just us.
Frank Brady, the President of the Sub-branch, and Pastor Moran delivered excellent addresses before the rededication of the War memorial at Tuncurry in the Lone Pine Memorial Park. This War memorial had been moved so more people could be accommodated at services such as ANZAC Day and is now centred on the Lone Pine planted by the Vietnam Vets in 2007. This pine tree is an offspring from trees that were grown from pine cones taken from the Lone Pine battlefield in Gallipoli.
After the service, many of us enjoyed food from the Halliday’s Point Lions club sitting in the shade and enjoying the good Newcastle Army band concert. They had played also during the service.
It was an excellent day and makes us even more enthusiastic about ANZAC Day this year when we plan to have a field of poppies behind the Memorials. There probably won’t be much more in the blog until then. We'll all be very busy attaching several thousand poppies to sheets! - Margot