By Colin MacGillivray
RSL sub-branches across the City of Whittlesea have welcomed a return to full Anzac Day services this year after COVID-19 restrictions limited ceremonies in the past two years.
Whittlesea and Doreen sub-branches confirmed they would host ceremonies on Monday next week and were excited to welcome unrestricted crowds.
Whittlesea RSL will host a simple dawn service at 6am, with a march later in the afternoon.
Sub-branch secretary Denys Potts said the club was focused on a simple remembrance service.
“We’re meeting for a simple service at Whittlesea Memorial Arch near the swimming pool,” he said.
“The president will say the ode, we’ll play the last post and have a minute’s silence, anyone who wants to lay a wreath can do so and we’ll play the national anthems of both Australia and New Zealand.
“There won’t be a breakfast or anything like that, so it will be very simple and all over in 10 minutes for anyone who wants to come.”
Mr Potts said there would be more fanfare for an afternoon march through town.
“In the afternoon we’ll revert back to what it used to be, which is assembling at the Whittlesea Bowls Club at 2pm and marching down to the memorial arch, then to the Whittlesea War Memorial at the end of Church Street. There will be a small service and wreath laying at each of those places,” he said.
“There will probably be several hundred involved in that, including veterans and the CFA, as well as local schools.
“Fortunately this year the bowls club, which has undergone extensive renovations, is going to supply an afternoon tea and refreshments for those who wish to come in at the completion of the march.”
Doreen RSL president Wes Wridgway said the sub-branch was also gearing up for a big day.
“We will hold a dawn service at Doreen RSL Cenotaph on the corner of Painted Hills and Armidale roads, Doreen,” he said.
“We’ll be gathering from 5.15am. The service starts at 5.55am followed by a gun fire breakfast and games of two-up at the Laurimar Sporting Complex.”
Mr Wridgway said Anzac Day was also a vital fundraiser for the RSL.
“We are raising much-needed funds for our veterans by selling Anzac badges out the front of Laurimar Woolworths every day and Bunnings in Mill Park and Mernda on weekends,” he said.
People seeking more information about the services can call Mr Wridgway on 0408 397 502 or Mr Potts on 0421 431 528.