Bundaberg RSL sub-branch president Helen Blackburn will be the first female veteran to officiate the Dawn Service in 99 years.
Bundaberg RSL sub-branch president Helen Blackburn will be the first female veteran to officiate the Dawn Service in 99 years. Contributed

First female veteran to officiate Bundaberg dawn service

IT'S the day the nation stops to pay tribute to those who fought for their country - a national day of respect for our diggers past and present.

As the Bundaberg RSL sub-branch gets ready to celebrate its centenary, the branch's own president Helen Blackburn will be marking a milestone of her own tomorrow.

She will become the first female veteran to officiate the dawn service in its 99th year.

"It's an honour to be the figurehead of an organisation steeped in such tradition,” she said.

"The committee has worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the dawn service, gunfire breakfast and traditional Anzac luncheon.

"As well as working with council to enact a few alterations to the civic service to ensure veterans are well considered.”

This year the RSL will also have five World War II veterans participating in services with the eldest member, Herbie Woodward, aged 100 years old.

Fred Bainbridge will also be taking the salute, with Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey.

Earlier this month Cr Blackburn told the NewsMail it was humbling to hear the stories from the branch's elderly members who fought for their country.

"They have so much respect for each other and the younger generation of soldiers,” she said.

"It's humbling to hear stories from them such as eating goldfish, which was some fish they got in a gold tin.

"It's because of their heroism we can live the lives we live today.”

Anzac Day Services

Guide: P15



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