by Chris Tobin
Keeping the spirit of Anzac alive is part of the motivation behind a speech contest being organised by the South Canterbury RSA.
Pupils from secondary schools around South Canterbury are being asked to take part in the Anzac Day speech contest on the subject “New Zealand Women at War or Conflict”.
SCRSA executive and committee member Jill Pearce said this was something new and should have generated interest, but so far the response had not been great.
“It was probably the time of year.
“We sent letters and emails to the schools at the end of last year and two weeks ago sent out a poster but we’ve only had one reply, from Roncalli College.”
Mrs Pearce said the committee which organised Anzac Day and Armistice Day commemorations in Timaru wanted to have different speakers at services and to include younger people.
The idea came up to organise a speech contest, with the winner to deliver the speech at Timaru’s main civic commemoration service on Anzac Day and the runner-up doing the same at the dawn service.
The speeches would have to be about 700 to 800 words in length, taking about five minutes to deliver.
Entries would be accepted from a maximum of two pupils per school. The winner would receive a $200 cash prize, second $100 and the winner’s school $250.
Entrants would be judged on April 3 at a venue yet to be decided.
“I think it’s nice to see younger generations at our services and to keep up in the interest in Anzac Day,” Mrs Pearce said.
June Wood, a former nurse with the Royal New Zealand Nursing Corps who served in the territorials for nine years with the rank of major, said she was delighted the role of women was being acknowledged.
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