Bunbury RSL president heartend by large Anzac Day crowds

Stuart McGuckinSouth Western Times
Bunbury RSL president John Gelmi speaks at the morning Anzac Day service.
Camera IconBunbury RSL president John Gelmi speaks at the morning Anzac Day service. Credit: Stuart McGuckin

Big Anzac Day crowds and the ongoing strong participation of schools left Bunbury Returned and Services League president John Gelmi pleased on Thursday.

He said while it was hard for him to gauge numbers from where he was at the dawn service he had received reports there was about 5000 people.

“I know there was a lot of people up Victoria Street but you can’t really guess how far up they went,” he said.

“We think it was fairly similar at the morning service, but people are so spread out there as well.

“There was a lot of young people there and a lot of our young veterans.”

Mr Gelmi said Richard “Norm” Eaton’s speech was a clear highlight of the day’s two services.

“It choke me up a little just thinking about it,” he said.

“He was determined that even at this age (99) he would get through it – and he did.”

Picture: Stuart McGuckin
Camera IconPicture: Stuart McGuckin

A big number of school groups led the march to the morning service.

They formed the rear of the march on the return to the RSL branch at the end of the service and were applauded by the service men and women upon the completion of their march.

“A lot of school children were taking part and that was great because they are the future of it,” Mr Gelmi said.

“They are the ones that will keep the ball rolling with these commemorations.

“These days a lot of schools have their own services and we usually send people out to those to give a speech.”

He said planning for next year’s service started as soon as everybody was gathering for some well deserved refreshments after the formalities of the day were completed.

“You have to start working early because there is a fair bit to it all,” he said.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails