It’s official!

Local ANZAC Day services make their return next month

Shepparton’s Anzac Day services will be held on-site and in-person again this year, after COVID-19 cancelled last year’s commemorations.

Shepparton RSL president Bob Wilkie said many people had been asking whether this year’s ceremonies would go ahead – and he could finally confirm they would.

“We’ve known for about a week that there was a very good chance of it happening,” he said.

“We officially found out on Wednesday afternoon. Everyone is just so happy about it.

“It was so disappointing not being able to hold a service last year.”

Approved by the state government as a “public event”, up to 5000 people will be allowed to gather for the services, as long as they abide by pandemic restrictions.

Mr Wilkie said 2000 to 3000 people were anticipated for this year’s Shepparton dawn service.

As part of a COVIDSafe plan, up to 30 COVID marshals will monitor the event to ensure social distancing, and five QR check-in points will be set up to record who attends.

“For those who don’t have smartphones, we will be able to get all their details to ensure we have everyone’s name recorded,” Mr Wilkie said.

Due to pandemic lockdowns, last year’s commemorations were cancelled, with people opting to instead hold “Light up the Dawn” services in their driveways.

In addition to being robbed of in-person ceremonies, the Shepparton RSL was unable to fundraise for the Anzac Appeal last year.

“But this year, our teams will start fundraising two weeks prior to Anzac Day,” Mr Wilkie said.

“We’re confident of a very successful appeal – it’s so important because this money goes towards the welfare of our veterans.

“We certainly do need the funds at the moment, because we are getting very busy with requests.”

Mr Wilkie encouraged young and old to gather on Anzac Day and commemorate all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.

“The day is an opportunity to reflect on those people that have made the ultimate sacrifice and the people who have passed on since,” he said.

Shepparton RSL will hold an Anzac Day dawn service at the Shepparton and District War Memorial from 6 am.

People are also invited to gather at Shepparton RSL at 10.20 am for a march along Welsford St to the war memorial, which will depart at 10.40 am.

A service will then be held at the war memorial from 11 am.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Shepparton RSL will not be hosting games of two-up this year.

Mooroopna Rotary Club will also host a service on the day.

People are invited to congregate in front of the water tower on McLennan St, Mooroopna at 8.30 am for a march to Memorial Park, which will kick off from 8.45 am.

This will be followed by a service at 9 am.

Charmayne Allison
Shepparton News