Call to show Anzac spirit despite virus

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Kayla Hindered, Jacques Prinsloo, Lucas Bayse and Charly Garcia, international travellers staying with Claire Hunt, helped get ready to commemorate Anzac Day.
Camera IconKayla Hindered, Jacques Prinsloo, Lucas Bayse and Charly Garcia, international travellers staying with Claire Hunt, helped get ready to commemorate Anzac Day. Credit: Supplied

A Secret Harbour woman has been inspired to help celebrate Anzac Day — despite not being able to attend the usual services — by encouraging people to decorate their houses with poppies and other memorabilia.

Claire Hunt said it was sad COVID-19 had impacted on the ability to pay respects to past and present serving members in the usual way.

“I wanted to still make a contribution and honour those who have and still serve. My eldest son served in Afghanistan in 2018, he was a Reconnaissance Infantry Soldier in the Army, and my youngest son is a current serving Combat Engineer based in Townsville,” she said.

“I am very proud of their service so it is extremely important for me personally to honour them.

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“I have been fortunate to meet so many defence families and veterans. I see the pressures they serve under. I have the utmost respect for them all.”

Ms Hunt has encouraged the community to create poppies out of whatever they can, and has put together an online package with several design options for inspiration. But she said there were hundreds of other patterns out there.

“I have distributed poppy patterns to our local community via shared Facebook pages and contacted Legacy, RSLWA, Soldier On and other defence community organisations to spread the word,” she said.

“We have received such positive support and replies online from the local community. So many people have said they are keen to participate, and think it is a great way for them to come together as one.”

Ms Hunt said she had made poppies for her garden, and was helped by four international travellers staying with her who were unable to get home due to COVID-19.

She said they would also be participating in the online Anzac service being broadcast by RSLWA.

“I really love the idea of a driveway service. In fact this is one reason why I thought the poppy project would work well,” she said.

“So instead of standing there quietly in the dark, people can look down their streets, showered with poppies and displays on this day to remember those who served and to honour the sacrifices they made in our name.”

Ms Hunt said she believed it was important to commemorate the day, even with the pandemic, because it would help connect people during a time of isolation.

“Having something positive to do together as a community means a lot,” she said.

“I believe creating a new way to participate in a service together is innovative and a much needed event for young and old.”

She said even though she encouraged people to take part, there was no pressure to go to great lengths.

“There are no expectations on how they contribute to the poppy project. It could be as simple as hanging up an Australian or New Zealand Flag, a wreath on their door or their grass covered in paper poppies,” Ms Hunt said.

“Any contribution is appreciated.”

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