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By ROBYN BRISTOW

Let’s bring them home for a day in our thoughts, Kaiapoi RSA vice-president Jamie Morton said at the dawn Anzac Day service in the riverside town yesterday.

Around the world there were white crosses in honour of fallen military personnel who would never set foot on New Zealand soil again, he said.

He urged the large crowd of around 1000, who had gathered at the Cenotaph on Raven Quay to remember all New Zealanders killed in war, to bring them home on Anzac Day in their thoughts.

Returned servicemen and women, as well as local organisations and clubs, marched from the nearby Kaiapoi Club to the Cenotaph where Mr Morton led a service as the first faint tentacles of the rising sun began to stretch over Pegasus Bay.

Returned servicemen stood shoulder-to-shoulder with younger mums, dads and their children, while the very young were hoisted high on shoulders to take in the sombre scene in the growing dawn.

Services were held throughout North Canterbury, with people spilling out the door of an inaugural memorial service in the Woodend Community Centre on Tuesday evening. Tuesday services were also well attended at Ohoka and Sefton.

At Amberley on Anzac Day hundreds gathered at the Amberley Reserve community hall with many having to stand outside because of the huge numbers. Four Spitfires did a fly past following the march to the hall by by Returned Service personnel, community groups and families.

Songs by the Leithfield School choir about the perils of war and a play written and directed by James Drewery, which once again highlighted the perils of war and the devastation and cost of war to families and communities, gave added poignancy to the gathering.

The annual poem competition between six local schools on the War to End all Wars run by the Amberley Lions Club, was won by Will McGuckin from the Waipara School.