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Anzac services in rural Mid Canterbury

Anzac services in rural Mid Canterbury
ANZAC services in rural Mid Canterbury

An eight-shot gun salute will end the Anzac service in Mayfield in tribute to the fallen servicemen.

The men who stayed home on-farm to feed the war effort will also be remembered for the sacrifices locals made during World War Two.

Mayfield and Districts Red Poppy Society president Reon Blake said there would be one artillery gun from World War One and one from World War Two for the final salute at the end of the mid-morning service.

People will assemble at the Panthers Rock carpark at 9.30am.

The parade leaves at 9.45am and heads to the memorial hall in Mayfield for a service at 10am.

The service will include a pictorial roll of honour of the 110 servicemen from the Mayfield-Mt Somers-Westerfield area who died while serving overseas.

The Ashburton Silver Band and the Mayfield School Choir will be at the service followed by a presentation by guest speaker David Pitkethley.

Blake said Pitkethley would talk about the sacrifices made by the local community to help the war effort.

Many farmers stayed home to ensure there was enough food and faced a lot of negativity for not going to war, he said.

The gun salute will end the ceremony at 11am, followed by morning tea. After that there’s an Anzac Day golf match at the Mayfield Golf Club. It tees off at 12.30pm, Blake said.

A former policeman, Blake works month on, month off, as a security contractor for ExxonMobil in Papua New Guinea.

Researching the stories of the local war heroes spanning from the Boer War to the war in Vietnam has became his pet project.

He managed to source photos for all but five of the fallen men and his research and efforts culminated in a book, The Foothills Fallen, published in November last year.

It is sold as a fundraiser for the society.

  • Sharon Davis