I saw the recent post about an ANZAC Day service at Mercy Place Aged Care at Montrose and reached out so that I could attend and support. I thought it a wonderful gesture for the residents unable to “get out” and attend a service.
The weather turned on something special as staff brought residents out to be seated in the outdoor area. There were also residents watching from balconies above too. Shade was welcome because it was actually quite warm.
I met Major Gary Bergman (Gaz) who was MCing the event. This is the second year he has held this event at Montrose. I have absolutely no doubt it will continue on.
The proceedings commenced with Roger playing the bagpipes. Our special guests, residents PTE William Harold Morris, Lt Col Colin Bowater and PTE Eric Philpot were introduced and assisted to be seated.
PTE Morris was admonished for being out of uniform – seated in his wheelchair, he was missing his quilt from his lap. This quilt had been presented to him at the service last year. The situation was quickly rectified and said quilt was returned to his lap.
Major Bergman talked about Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry Bags and what we’re all about. Dee, the fabulous co-ordinator of this event, and I were called up to present Lt Col Colin Bowater and PTE Eric Philpot with their personalised quilts. These gentlemen were incredibly thrilled to receive these quilts. To be in their presence and to see their reaction and appreciation of their quilts was an honour. Absolutely stunning job – well done to the volunteers to created them.
The proceedings continued with the commemorative address followed by wreath laying as Roger played. During the Ode of Remembrance, 97 year old PTE Morris who was seated next to me in his wheelchair, was determined to stand and did so proudly and at great effort for a brief time. He had the support of Dee behind him, his daughter on his left and me on his right. I was so proud to be of assistance to him in that moment.
Continuing on there was the Last Post, one minute of silence, the rouse and the National Anthem. Rev Alan Baker gave a closing prayer. June Murrowood from Mercy Place Aged Care gave a closing speech and the proceeding concluded with Roger playing Flowers of the Forest on the bagpipes.
Staff commenced moving residents back in to the buildings. I can only imagine the logistics involved in getting them in and out of the building in a timely manner.
I was welcomed to a lounge area where we enjoyed a beautiful afternoon tea of sandwiches, sausage rolls, scones with jam and cream, mini quiches and a selection of small cakes.
I sat with the family of PTE Morris and enjoyed their company. I heard a funny story of PTE Morris’ days onboard when a ship exterior was being painted…. suffice to say it would have needed to be repainted.
There were photo opportunities with all of the quilts proudly displayed along the partition to the lounge with the recipients proudly in front of theirs.
I will definitely attend this event again next year. I would highly encourage other local AHQ volunteers to attend too if you are able to.