The Hampton RSL Sub-branch again hosted the Anzac Day ceremony for all Bayside schools on Friday 21st April 2017. Over 300 children from a range of public and private, primary and secondary schools participated in this inspiring Bayside School ANZAC Ceremony.
The ceremony was attended by several diggers, Legacy widows, Tim Wilson MP, Member for Goldstein; Mr Murray Thompson, State Member for Sandringham; Mayor Alex del Porto of Bayside City Council; Roger Wilson Chairman of Order of Australia Association- South Central Branch; and Neville John, Rotary District Governor. Several other Bayside Councillors attended along with many parents and members of the RSL and local community.
LCDR Helen Ward RANR, Vice President of Hampton RSL, spoke to the students of her experience in overseas service and on looking back to Anzac Cove in 1915, how it was the Navy that was first into Suvla Bay, Gallipoli and the last to leave. President, Peter Lanigan, also addressed the students and introduced the Ode, Last Post and the one-minute silence.
Another inspiring feature on the program was the announcement of the winner/s of the Poetry Competition from each school and the winners then reading their winning poem to the audience. The maturity and expression from each of these winners was truly moving and each received a resounding applause.
Dr John Basarin OAM, initiator of the ceremony said: “It is believed that this ceremony enhances the students’ understanding of significance and meaning of Anzac Day by participating at an event specifically designed for them”.
The ceremony, which was first held in 2016, promotes the recognition of Anzac Day by young people in schools in Bayside. The President of the Hampton RSL, Mr Peter Lanigan said: “The outcome for this Anzac Day project benefits local schools, students and the greater community”.
The Ladies Auxilliary of Hampton RSL Sub Branch instigated the donating of books to the schools, rather than laying of wreaths. Each book is later presented to the school libraries in memory of a loved one or friend who was a member of the Australian Armed Forces. A certificate on the flyleaf of each book serves as a reminder to the reader of the significance of Anzac Day.
Special thanks to St Leonard’s College who provided a 120-strong band and choir ensemble to complement the event, Hampton Primary School Choir who sang “In Flanders Fields” so beautifully, and the Catafalque Guard from the Mentone Grammar Army Cadet Unit.
The Bayside-based Rotary Clubs of Brighton, Brighton North, Hampton and Sandringham assisted with the event.