Wearing their poppies with pride, hundreds of people came to Stratford's Anzac Day services last Wednesday.

Before the sun had risen, the Cross of Sacrifice in Stratford was the gathering point for the Dawn Service.

As dawn broke through the night, the crowd were led in song by Rawinia Henderson, her voice leading them in a moving rendition of Amazing Grace, and later, the National Anthem.

At 10.30am, the sound of pipes and drums marked the start of the Anzac Parade along Broadway.


Led by the Stratford Pipe band, the parade included veterans, serving members of the armed forces including members of Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles regiment, air cadets, scouts, guides, representatives from local schools and the mayor, deputy mayor, CEO and councillors.

The parade was followed by the Civic Service and wreath laying.

One of the younger people walking in the parade was 13-year-old Duncan Roper, who was wearing medals belonging to his great-grandfather, Lance-Corporal Joseph Gilmour.

Duncan is one of 100 direct descendants of LCpl Gilmour, who was a Whangamomona sheep farmer before the war and served in the 25th Battalion's C Company in Italy.

Stratford mayor Neil Volzke says he is pleased with how the day's event went.

"The Dawn Service and the Civic Service were once again well supported. People clearly want to ensure that the sacrifices made by our service men and women in the past, are remembered on Anzac Day. It was really encouraging to see the number of young people showing an interest and attending the services and the wreath making session held the day before."

Crowd numbers at the events were changing. he said.

"While the street parade had a good turnout of onlookers, it seems the number of people marching is slowly diminishing, which is a concern looking ahead."

Margaret Hawes, who lives in Normanby, says she also thinks the parade was shorter this year.

"But that didn't change the meaning behind it."

Margaret says she comes to the Stratford parade every second year, going to Hawera on the alternate year.

"It's a fact there will be fewer veterans in these parades each year, so I think it is important we encourage our children and grandchildren to participate and represent those who came before us. It was really quite special to see the scouts and cadets marching today."