Veterans head out to Watergardens for the ANZAC Appeal

With ANZAC Day on the horizon, veterans and volunteers are out in force, raising much needed funds for Australia’s returned servicemen and women. Among them is Bobby Matthewman, a 73-year-old Vietnam veteran and member of the Caroline Springs RSL.

“This is the way we can help out veterans from our area,” Bobby says. “If they’re in a bad way, need crutches or a wheel chair, or if they haven’t got food in the cupboard, we’ll look after them.”

ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day in November are the year’s two biggest fundraising efforts for veterans. This year, Bobby’s hoping to raise between $10,000 and $15,000 for the ANZAC Appeal. Money raised from the appeal goes directly back to the local RSL and provides ongoing welfare support for veterans in the area who may be experiencing a range of hardships including financial, social and medical issues.

With an increasing number of aging veterans, volunteers can be hard to come by. Still, Bobby is heartened by the young people who put their hand up, citing a girl he met recently who offered to help sell badges.

“When I was a young bloke, I used to go into the shrine on ANZAC Day and there weren’t many people there,” Bobby says. “But now there’s so many, so it really does mean a lot to us.”

“It’s important to me because my great grandfather served back in the Boer War. And we’ve got a 94-year-old WWII veteran [at Caroline Springs RSL] named Allan Godfrey who marches with us. We’ve all been to war and know how tough it is. The RSL is a good place to be.”

ANZAC Day – April 25 – is a national day of remembrance that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in wars and conflicts.

Members from the Caroline Springs and Keilor East RSL are currently selling badges at Watergardens and will be located near Target until Tuesday 24 April.

Dawn Services Near You

Keilor East RSL ANZAC March and Service
Time: 10am for a 10:15am step off, Sunday 22 April 2018
Location: Cnr Mary Street and Hoffmans Road, Essendon

Keilor East RSL Dawn Service
Time: 5.50am, Wednesday 25 April 2018
Location: Cenotaph, Heinz Reserve, Hoffmans Road, Essendon (opposite RSL)
Breakfast: Gold coin donation

Caroline Springs RSL Dawn Service
Time: 5.50am, Wednesday 25 April 2018
Location:The Parade (in front of the Leisure Centre), Caroline Springs

Shrine of Remembrance Dawn Service
Time: 6am, Wednesday 25 April 2018
Location: Shrine of Remembrance, Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne