North Shore RSAs prepare for Anzac Day centenary

Bob Gage, left, and Greg Hartley hand placed each of the 91 crosses outside the entrance of the Birkenhead RSA.
LAINE MOGER/FAIRFAX NZ

Bob Gage, left, and Greg Hartley hand placed each of the 91 crosses outside the entrance of the Birkenhead RSA.

Ninety one crosses have been laid outside the Birkenhead RSA, to honour soldiers who have died in international conflict.

Anzac Day was first marked in 1916, making 2016 the 100th year of commemorations in New Zealand.

"Anzac Day is a time to reflect on the servicemen and servicewomen, past and present, who have displayed courage and sacrifice serving our country," Auckland Mayor Len Brown says.

Birkenhead RSA worked with the Kaipatiki Community Facilities Trust, to name each cross with the life taken from Birkenhead, Northcote and Glenfield communities.

Crosses have also been placed on the graves of returned servicemen in Birkenhead Cemetery.

"Everyone in New Zealand is connected in some way, to someone, in some war," Birkenhead RSA president Lynda Gage says.

Donations collected on Poppy Day go towards the RSA welfare fund, to help the remaining soldiers in the community.

It assists buying items such as new glasses or hearing aids. Sometimes, it is just a ride to the hospital with a friendly face.

"The sense of a brotherhood is still, and will always be, upheld in this community," RSA vice president Greg Hartley says.

Other North Shore RSAs are also preparing for Anzac Day.

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East Coast Bays RSA is now entirely open almost one year since a fire caused severe damage to the downstairs games area.

Secretary manager Scott Evans says having it ready by Anzac Day shows people the place is almost complete.

"Anzac Day is for remembrance. It's what the day's about. To remember all our fallen heroes and who returned," Evans says.

All are welcome to attend the RSA's official reopening on May 7 at 7pm.

Albany Coronation Hall and Memorial Library will have two knitted and crocheted poppy panels on display, gifted from last year's Peace Poppy Project.

Speaker's Corner is hosting an Anzac Day commemoration from 1pm to include the release of a World War I war diary and Somme Battlefield Ale, of which there are 350 bottles in the world.

There will also be an antique music box and other items on display.

For all Anzac Day services see aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/anzacday.

 

 - Stuff

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