Pleased to run celebrations again


Anzac Day is back on the agenda in East Otago though it is hoped the weather plays its part.

In 2020 in the midst of the first pandemic lockdown, no Anzac celebrations took place but they were back last year.

This year they are again set to be held but all ceremonies will take place outside.

The restrictions around numbers inside have forced organisers to move outside.

Waihemo Community Board chairwoman Heather McGregor said there was never a consideration to not go ahead with the ceremonies.

The Palmerston Anzac Day commemorations would start at 9am at the Palmerston Memorial Gates.

The crowd will be welcomed by Palmerston and Waihemo RSA vice-president Chris Walker while Abigail Paton will read the prayer and the blessing.

The official speaker will be East Otago High School head pupil Joshua Walker.

The ceremony at the South African Memorial will follow at 9.30am with the laying of a wreath.

Events will then move to Dunback where the final ceremony in the area will start at 11am.

Mr Walker will again speak and Abigail Paton will again read the prayer and give a speech.

Following the service there will be a short service at the Memorial Stone in the Dunback Domain and then refreshments at the Dunback Bowling Club clubrooms.

Mrs McGregor said she was looking forward to the day and it was something which brought the community together.

‘‘There seems to be a lot more younger people coming along and want to know what Anzac Day is all about,’’ she said.

The armed services had made a decision nationwide it would not allow its professional staff to attend any Anzac services because of Covid-19.

Mrs McGregor said there were a half dozen soldiers at ceremonies in Palmerston last year, so it was disappointing no soldiers would be at any ceremony this year, although it was understandable.

A crowd of about 400 had gone to the main ceremony in Palmerston last year and though Mrs McGregor was hoping to get just as many she said many people may not come due to wanting to stay safe.

The weather may also play its part.

There is another event taking place in Waikouaiti which will also take place outside.

Waikouaiti RSA will be holding its Anzac Day parade at 10.45am at 10 Pratt St, in Waikouaiti. Everyone is welcome to the service.

This year there will be no inside service but the clubrooms will be open and the service will be followed by a potluck luncheon inside.