WOODBURN MARCH: Veterans and representatives marched along the Pacific Highway to the Riverside Park at Woodburn. Photo Samantha Elley / Rivertown Times
WOODBURN MARCH: Veterans and representatives marched along the Pacific Highway to the Riverside Park at Woodburn. Photo Samantha Elley / Rivertown Times Samantha Elley

Communities remember

EVANS Head's Jean Hancock served in the Australian Women's Army Service in the Second World War.

She stood proudly, wearing her medals, at the Evans Head Dawn Service two weeks ago with her daughter Sue Custer, of Evans Head.

Ms Custer wore the medals of her grandfather, Matthew Baxter, who fought in France in the First World War.

"The Dawn Service was very impressive," Ms Hancock said.

"There was such a good response as there seemed to be a lot of people."

A few hundred people lined the streets and crowded the park of the war memorial in Evans Head to pay tribute at the Dawn Service.

Veterans stood shoulder to shoulder with school children and members of the public to honour those who fought for Australia.

Before the first rays of sunlight, the service started with speeches from the Evans River K-12 school captains, followed by a dedication by Rev Paul McKendrick.

School captain Cassie Keogh shared her experiences of visiting the First World War battlefields, a trip she undertook through the Premier's Anzac Memorial Scholarship.

"I had the unique experience of being a World War One soldier for a day," she said.

"I wore a gas mask and uniform and to make this experience realistic it poured rain.

"I even ate bully beef for lunch.

"Although I think our bully beef was more appetising than what was prescribed to the soldiers."

A combined schools choir added to the poignancy of the morning.

The service was followed by a breakfast at the Evans Head-Woodburn RSL Club, where veterans were able to catch up over a rum and milk.

At Woodburn, a large crowd lined the streets of the Pacific Hwy, which was closed to traffic for the march and service.

Chris Betterridge, of Woodburn, participated in the march to the Riverside Park, carrying a photo of her father, William George Palmer, who served in the Second World War.

Broadwater and Riley's Hill communities also held Dawn Services to remember their servicemen.

At Broadwater Public School, the day before Anzac Day, a well-attended service was held to remove the school-held Honour Board to the Broadwater Community Hall.

Coraki Vietnam veteran Mike McBride, from Lismore, gave a stirring speech on the meaning of the Anzac spirit at the 10.30am service at the Coraki war memorial.

"The term Anzac is not a place or a war," he said.

"It's the spirit that embodies courage, discipline and mateship.

"Many Australian soldiers in the First World War never saw their homeland again, but their spirit came home."

For more Anzac photos go online to rivertowntimes.com.au



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