Huge crowds at Nelson’s Anzac services

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Six-year-old Grace Batty wore her poppy with pride at yesterday’s Anzac service in Stoke, in remembrance of all four of her great-grandparents who served in the war.

She and her sister, Charlotte, were just two of many young people who attended services around Nelson yesterday.

Three of their great-grandfathers served in WW1, and their great-grandmother served in WW2, and they say they “like everything” about attending Anzac Day services.

Anzac kids (1)
Grace Batty, 6, with her sister Charlotte, 11, at yesterday’s Anzac memorial service at the Stoke Community Hall. Photo: Kate Russell.

“I think it’s important to remember all the men and woman who fought in the war,” says eleven-year-old Charlotte.

Grace and Charlotte’s mother, Katherine Batty, says it’s important for her children to understand what ANZAC day means.

“It’s certainly something I was brought up with and want my children to remember,” she says. “Otherwise, it fades away.”

The strong numbers of younger Nelsonians attending ceremonies is something that has been welcomed by RSA Nelson Marlborough Westland district president Derek Nees.

“It’s very encouraging to see the younger generations attending and every year we see more and more younger people turning up to services,” he says

“Those are the people we have to get marching alongside us, as the day is coming that we won’t be there to march.”

Derek says they had a great turn out at yesterday’s dawn service at Anzac Park.

“In my view it was a good service,” he says. “It was bang on time, the speakers were very relevant and everybody did everything well. The weather was kind to us which was a bonus.”

Services were also held at the church steps, Queens Gardens, and the Wakapuaka Cemetery.