School purple poppy wreaths bound for Pozieres

TRIBUTE: Nigel Allsopp, dog Venus, monsignor John Butler AM, chaplain Denise Ferguson, Redlands RSL vice president Ian Gray and student Calen Lee. Photo: Hannah Baker

TRIBUTE: Nigel Allsopp, dog Venus, monsignor John Butler AM, chaplain Denise Ferguson, Redlands RSL vice president Ian Gray and student Calen Lee. Photo: Hannah Baker

POZIERES will soon have a piece of Redland Bay State School.

A purple poppy wreath made by school teachers Lorna van der Merwe, Tania Bertram and Kylie Heidrich for Cleveland’s main Anzac Day service will be flown to the French town in July.

SEE RELATED: Purple poppies to signify service animals

Not only will the wreath be laid at the unveiling of the Anzac war animal memorial on July 21, it will also be exhibited as part of a permanent display at the Pozieres War Museum.

While Redland Bay State School is the only school in the Redlands to have supplied a purple poppy wreath for the tribute, Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation (AWAMO) president Nigel Allsopp said more were needed.

Only eight wreaths have been sent in from the one thousand schools contacted to be part of the project from across the country.

While students’ colouring-in-pages will also be taken, Mr Allsopp said schools interested in sending their purple poppy wreaths should contact him as soon as possible, with logistics still to be sorted.

He said he wanted as many school purple poppy wreaths as possible to help students understand the role of animals in military service. 

“The next generation understand Anzac history and understand the role of soldiers,” he said.

An artist's impression of the $250,000 Anzac war animal memorial at Pozieres, which will be unveiled on July 21. Picture: Supplied

An artist's impression of the $250,000 Anzac war animal memorial at Pozieres, which will be unveiled on July 21. Picture: Supplied

“But it is also stimulating to many kids who have pets to also be aware that animals fought in war for this nation.”

Seven of the purple poppy wreaths will be packed in the luggage taken by Redlands RSL vice president Ian Gray, monsignor John Butler AM and chaplain Denise Ferguson. 

Mr Allsopp said he would personally take the Redland Bay State School wreath, which will be laid by student Calen Lee’s grandfather, Michael Lee, on behalf of the school.

Mr Allsopp said the war animal memorial was a first of its kind.

The memorial’s centrepiece is formed by a bronze horse's head, which is sculpted with the faces a dog and pigeon in its mane. 

A french police dog, killed in the 2015 Paris attack, has also been immortalised in a separate sculpture.

“The dog’s head is for France, as its their land,” Mr Allsopp said.

To submit a purple poppy wreath, message Mr Allsopp at the AWAMO facebook page here or phone the Redlands RSL Sub Branch on 3488 1108.

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