Memories set in stone

By Mark Dawson

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LEST WE FORGET: Ron Bettjeman, supported by Mike West, speaks at the Anzac memorial service held yesterday morning at the head of the Mangapurua Valley, near the trig site.
LEST WE FORGET: Ron Bettjeman, supported by Mike West, speaks at the Anzac memorial service held yesterday morning at the head of the Mangapurua Valley, near the trig site.

The Anzac Day service in the Mangapurua Valley, led by Mike and Raewyn West, marked 100 years since the Mangapurua Valley was opened for settlement by the returned servicemen after WWI.

More than 200 people - including descendants of the original settlers of the valley - attended the service and the unveiling of a stunning and symbolic monument.

The monument features an axe set into the pinnacle of a pyramid bearing the names of the original settlers.

Some of those who attended were over 90 years of age but - thanks to strong spirits and willing helpers - all were ferried in and out of the difficult terrain safely via quad bikes and helicopter.

One of those attending, Steven Sandbrook, said it was an emotional service, evoking both smiles and tears and ringing with song.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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