Score of services in N.O.

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Friday, April 24

The main focus of this year’s Anzac Day services in Oamaru will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli, former RSA president John Longman says.

More than 20 services, wreath-layings and posey-layings will be taking place around North Otago to remember those who served during WW1 tomorrow, with a few events also happening today.

Mr Longman said each service this year will be based around the commemoration of Gallipoli.

“That’s the main focus. There’s a lot of commemorations in 2015. You’ve got Gallipoli, 75 years since World War II and 50 years since combat forces went into Vietnam.”

He said the North Otago RSA will be open after the completion of the main Anzac Day service at the Garden of Memories.

“Sally-Ann Donnelly is running the bar, she’s done everything. The council has worked with her and us [RSA]. All profits will go to the North Otago RSA Welfare Trust.”

Meanwhile, Mr Longman said this year’s Poppy Day appeal, held last Friday, was a huge success.

“They [sales] were absolutely incredible, we’ve sold out of poppies. We are over $10,000 and there is still a lot to come in; it’s increasing every day. We won’t have a final figure for another couple of weeks.”

Demand for poppies saw several stalls close early, as they had run out of poppies.

“It’s hard to say, but I would say it would be one of the most successful (appeals).”

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, who will be speaking at a number of services including the main Oamaru service, said this year’s commemorations will be significant and the organisers of each event have tried to make them as special as possible.

During the main service, he will be talking about the events at Gallipoli and the relationship which has lasted between Australia and New Zealand.

A number of smaller services will also be held around North Otago including one in Enfield, which has been running for the last 12 years.

Co-ordinator Colin Murray said the service, which usually has about 150 people there, is always an intimate occasion.

By Ruby Harfield and Daniel Birchfield