HAVING worked as a volunteer to honour her father and other prisoners of war, Elizabeth (Libby) Parkinson was overwhelmed to learn she had been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her service to veterans and their families.
Ms Parkinson is one of four Redlanders to be awarded an OAM on Australia Day.
The others are Glynn Topfer, for service to surf lifesaving, Deirdre Hargreaves, for service to the community of Ormiston, and Edward Brown, for service to youth through rugby league.
Ms Parkinson is president of the 2/10th Field Regiment Association, which holds an annual service to commemorate Australian solders taken as POWs when Singapore fell to Japan on February 15, 1942.
Ms Parkinson’s father Colin Clinch, now aged 99, was one of the soldiers. He worked on the bridge over the River Kwai after he was captured.
Mr Clinch is one of six surviving soldiers from 2/10th Field Regiment.
Ms Parkinson had been president of the association since second generation family members of veterans were asked to take over in 2003.
The association organises the Fall of Singapore Commemorative Service, together with a morning tea at a shrine in Brisbane.
“It was started in 1947 and they have never missed a year since,” Ms Parkinson said.
The number of people attending the service had grown from about 100 in 2003 to about 500 expected this year.
“For the 2/10th family, the day is as important to us as Anzac Day is to other people.”
Ms Parkinson said the association had been her passion since she retired from teaching in 2006.
“We just love our dads and want to honour them and we don’t want people to forget the atrocities that were done to prisoners of war.
“It’s a way of showing we respect their memories and appreciate what they did.”
Ms Parkinson said the OAM was a complete surprise.
“We didn’t go into this looking for award or reward. It really is all about our fathers and what they sacrificed.”
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