Lest we forget . . . Waitaki District RSA Welfare Trust Oamaru member Warren Prescott is encouraging everyone to support this year’s Poppy Day. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Remembering the past can help shape the future.

That is why every year, Waitaki District RSA Welfare Trust member Warren Prescott rallies together volunteers for Poppy Day.

‘‘It’s to remember those forefathers that went before us and what they suffered,’’ Mr Prescott said.

Today, poppy boxes will be scattered around Oamaru shops, and about 30 volunteers will be manning collection points at Lagonda Tearooms, the Brydone Hotel, Countdown and both New World supermarkets.

There was usually a good turnout from the Oamaru community, supporting the cause and buying a poppy.

‘‘I enjoy the satisfaction of people remembering that what our forefathers did . . . it’s something that I would hope that’s never forgotten.

‘‘The most important thing for the local people to realise is the money we collect from Poppy Day stays in Oamaru and that’s used for the welfare within the district.’’

Mr Prescott has a long association with Anzac Day. While studying at Otago Boys’ High School, there were always memorial gates pupils lifted their hats for, and pupils went to school on Anzac Day for a special service, he said.

Mr Prescott was also involved in the New Zealand Cadet Forces, and went to sea with the Merchant Navy, taking his final journey on the Maheno II.

‘‘It’s been in my blood to recognise those that served to enable us to continuing living in peace, respecting the dead.’’

It was a big reason he enjoyed seeing secondary school pupils being involved and giving speeches at the Anzac Day dawn service, and the 11am service.

It was ‘‘imperative’’ for the younger generation to understand what happened.

‘‘It’s really a matter of encouraging the younger person to come through.

‘‘One always likes to look forward . . . but one should never forget how we got there.’’