Communities across Clutha came together to commemorate Anzac Day in diverse ways on Tuesday, including at a paddock ceremony in Beaumont.
Beaumont resident Neville Hills said the tradition began after locals were unable to join the neighbouring Lawrence ceremony when Covid lockdowns began in 2019.
‘‘Pre-Covid, we used to join the Lawrence Anzac Day service, but couldn’t really do that when restrictions hit.
‘‘We’re a bit of a rag-tag team up here, so we just appropriated a paddock across the bridge, set up our own commemorative crosses, poppies and the like, and held our own service here instead.’’
Mr Hills said the Dunkeld Cemetery Trust was now fundraising towards a permanent granite war memorial located in the cemetery, for future events.
Ceremonies also took place in Benhar, Clinton, Dunrobin, Heriot, Kaitangata, Kaka Point, Lawrence, Milton, Owaka, Taieri Mouth, Tapanui, Tuapeka Mouth, Warepa, and Balclutha on Tuesday morning.
Retired Lt Col Kevin Baff led proceedings before a crowd of several hundred in Balclutha, saying it was a ‘‘sacred ritual’’ for people to gather together on Anzac Day. He and other speakers decried the current conflict in Ukraine. ‘‘In this time of turmoil created by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we should remember that war is a dirty business, and that peaceful coexistence is always the better option, and what we should always strive for. Lest we forget.’’