In the lead-up to Anzac Day the RSA graves at Whangarei's Maunu Cemetery have been given a respectful clean up by members of Kamo Scout Group and their families.
Almost 20 children from the group - made up of Venturers, Scouts, Keas and Cubs - accompanied by parents and other family members, went to Maunu Cemetery on Saturday morning to give the graves of ex-servicemen and women the treatment they deserved ahead of Anzac Day on Wednesday.
Paula Wilson, chairwoman of the scout group, said Kamo Scouts clean up the grave ahead of Anzac Day every year and this year was no different as the youngsters and their families carried out some community service.
''This is a way of paying respect for those returned servicemen and women and it's a way of teaching the youngsters about the past and the sacrifices people have made,'' she said.
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''We started at one end and there were graves from the Boer War right through to those service men and women who died in the 2000s. It was a very poignant time for us all.''
She said the RSA provides poppies for the occasion and the scouts and supporters scrub the graves so they are clean and put a poppy on each one. There are almost 2000 graves there and Wilson said with community service a big part of the scouts' ethos the youngsters and their families got a lot out of the day.
The youngest attendee was only 3 months old, while the scouts were aged from 6 to 17 and Wilson said the tremendous clean-up efforts were fully appreciated by the RSA.
She said with Anzac Day being on Wednesday many former service people and their families would visit the cemetery to pay their respects after the Anzac Day
commemorations and the scouts wanted the graves looking smart as a way of paying their respects.
''There is just some amazing history there. Seeing [graves] of young soldiers aged 18 and 19; members of the Mounted Rifles and even a person who had served in the Camel Troop in World War II. There was a lot to learn for the scouts.''
Wilson said the scouts would be attending the Last Post ceremony at the Whangarei Cenotaph in Laurie Hall Park tomorrow evening and would then take part in the Dawn Service at the Cenotaph on Anzac Day.