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Top Anzac Day turnout

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier
Anzac Day Scenes

By Grant Johnston

Whether it was the best Anzac Day turnout in Te Awamutu for many years was the subject of debate - but there was consensus that the services in town on Monday were a great success.

There were 38 war veterans marching in the dawn parade and 107 in the civic service parade later in the day. Estimates placed the attendance at the civic service at between 1200-1500.

Waipa Mayor Alan Livingston rated it a great turnout. He said it was fortunate the cold southerly winds had died down by Monday and things were not too chilly, even at the dawn parade. He attended both services here, as well as those at Cambridge and Ohaupo.

Former Te Awamutu Mayor Bob Vaile also attended both services here, including the dawn service with his daughters, Denise and Allison, and grandson, Simon (14). He said it was great to see so many young people in attendance.

“You can tell them all about Anzac services - but they need to experience it first hand.”

Returned serviceman Ron Powell said it was a true small town turnout, with people supporting each other. He sold poppies in Kihikihi all day Friday and raised the flag early on Monday morning at Kihikihi Town Hall, where wreaths were laid by the RSA and Council.

One of the many wreaths laid on the Cenotaph at Te Awamutu was from a German Rotary Group Study Exchange team. Member, Mark Kruempel (a journalist) said they were impressed by the turnout in Te Awamutu and by the importance Anzac Day obviously held for local people. He said in his home country they commemorate Volkstravertag in November - remembering all the people who died in the World Wars.