RSA centenary approaches

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By DAVID HILL

The Kaiapoi RSA has another centenary to celebrate this year. After four years of commemorating the 100 years since World War 1, the Kaiapoi RSA is planning its own centennial celebrations in November.

President Neill Price says Defence Minister Ron Mark has already been booked in to speak at the Kaiapoi RSA’s 100th anniversary celebrations, planned for November 1 to 3.

“We believe the first meeting was actually held in July 1919, but we thought we couldn’t have the celebrations in July because of the cold weather.”

Mr Price says around 10 percent of the Kaiapoi district population served in World War 1, with 200 men and women deployed overseas out of a population of around 2000 people.

“And that’s who we will be honouring on Anzac Day, together with those who served in the South African War and other conflicts since.”

The Kaiapoi RSA is busy with its preparations, with Poppy Day on Friday, April 12, and Mr Price participating in five Anzac services on April 24 and 25. The first services will be held at Ohoka from 11am and Woodend from 6pm on April 24.

Attention turns to Kaiapoi, with residents encouraged to arrive at the Kaiapoi Cenotaph on Raven Quay at 6.15am, in time for the dawn service at 6.30am.

Breakfast will be offered at the Kaiapoi Club, with tickets selling fast for $19 a head.

The main Kaiapoi service will once again be held at Trousselot Park at 10am, with retired Lieutenant-Colonel Russell Keetley, born in Kaiapoi, being the official speaker.

Members of the Rangiora 88 Squadron Air Cadets will be assisting at both of the services along with New Zealand Defence Force personnel, and Kaiapoi High School students will be speaking.

The Kaiapoi Brass Band will also be playing at the main service, then at the club.

In the event of wet weather, both services will be in the clubrooms.

A 2pm service in Tuahiwi will round out the day.

White crosses will once again be erected on the lawn beside the cenotaph a week before Anzac Day, before being taken to the Kaiapoi Men’s Shed for repairs.

The big white cross has already been refurbished by Kaiapoi High School pupils.

This year, the Kaiapoi RSA will also be holding a Seafearers service at St Bartholomew’s Church in Cass Street on Sunday, July 7, which is open to all former Navy, Coastguard personnel and anyone who has “had anything to do with the river or the sea”, Mr Price says.