This year’s Alexandra’s Armistice Day service shifted to a rather unique location, as the town formally unveiled street signs honouring the memory of five local men who served their country.
Shortly before 11am on Saturday, a crowd of about 50 people gathered in Weaver Close in Molyneux Estate, a small cul-de-sac that bears the name of a former serviceman, Trooper Charles Leslie Weaver, who served in World War 1.
Led by Alexandra-Clyde RSA member Gerry Sutherland, the service heard from local Rev Fr Sani Lam, Central Otago District Mayor Tim Cadogan and Alexandra-Clyde RSA president Paul Galloway.
Those attending stood in silence as, from elsewhere in town, three rounds were fired from a 25-pounder gun at 11am.
Speaking after the event, Mr Galloway said a lot of work had gone into researching the background of each of the five servicemen, and the streets named after them, to meet the Poppy Place criteria.
“So what we were able to establish is that when this development occurred, the developer picked these street names which were names from the local cenotaph.
“There’s a deeper story behind each one, so they’re hosted on the Central Stories website and also on the Poppy Places Trust.
Mr Galloway said there would eventually be a QR code placed on each signpost to allow anyone passing by to learn more about the story of each serviceman.
Jo Mullenger, an English teacher and one of the researchers who worked on the project, said it was great to see the signs embraced by the residents living on the streets.
“It’s a great wee community. I just talked to one of the ladies here and I said ‘oh I hope you like your sign’, and she said ‘oh I love it. We feel very special’.”
Fellow researcher and electrician Mark Davies agreed, and said the project was a great way to help keep history alive.
“The best thing is that the people in the streets now know the story.”
Moving forward, Mr Galloway said the RSA was “very interested” in hearing from families with stories of former servicemen they were willing to share with the community.
“We want to expand the story collection, and they don’t necessarily have to be Poppy Places.”
The five new Poppy Places are Weaver Close, Stevens Way, Tohill Court, Walker Place and Kinnaird Close.