A region remembers

Thousands attend Anzac services

Last updated 14:44 25/04/2012
Bevan Read

The 2012 Anzac Day dawn service in Invercargill.

Anzac Gore
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The Gore Anzac Day service.
Photo gallery: From our readers
ROWENA JACKSON/Supplied Zoom
Anzac Day at Rowena Jackson, Invercargill.

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Southerners have turned out in their thousands to commemorate the fallen at Anzac Day services throughout the region.

Dawn services held in Invercargill, Gore and Winton were extremely well-attended, with calm weather apparently helping numbers.

In Invercargill several thousand people gathered at the cenotaph for the dawn service, which was punctuated by cannon fire and planes flying in formation overhead.

Veterans, armed service personnel, members of the emergency services and community representatives were all in attendance, while there was also a strong turnout from young families.

More than 100 packed into the Ohai-Nightcaps RSA clubrooms for a "moving and emotional'' service, while Mossburn had what was described by the town's RSA president as its best commemorations ever, attended by about 130 including the town's sole surviving World War II veteran.

The Anzac service in Gore drew the largest crowd ever, with hundreds gathering for the event. Those who lingered on the street before entering the RSA hall were rewarded with a flyover by the New Zealand Air Force.

Stewart Island residents turned out in droves for the island's dawn service, a stunning red sunrise adding to the occasion, while in Bluff, several hundred people gathered for the traditional walk from the RSA clubrooms to the cenotaph.

In Waikaka, deputy prime minister Bill English spoke to the 350 people at the service, with more than 30 wreaths laid in memory of the fallen.

In Arrowtown, hundreds gathered to remember and lay wreaths, while in Alexandra about 500 people paraded the length of Tarbet St before heading to a wreath laying ceremony at the war memorial, where an elderly man fainted.

In Queenstown, RSA president Dave Geddes told the large crowd the sacrifices made by servicemen and women were huge.

"To our friends from Australia, together this is our day, a day we share with pride and respect,'' he said.

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- The Southland Times

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