Recital from the heart

September 07, 2017

Alwyn Drysdale and David Bell stand with St Augustine's students.

FEW of the students at St Augustine’s College understood just what they were witnessing when Stanhope’s David Bell recited In Flanders Fields on Friday.

Delivering it from memory – each “r” in the poem richly rolled – the Second World War veteran was reciting lines that starkly mirrored his own wartime experiences.

Experiences which most of the students of St Augustine’s College have never come close to facing, thanks to the sacrifices of past soldiers like David Bell.

At 92, Mr Bell has recited the poem at every Lone Pine Ceremony since the tree was first planted by late legatee Bob Drysdale 18 years ago.

Mr Drysdale’s widow, Alwyn Drysdale, also attended the ceremony for the 18th year in a row.

A part of Legacy Week, the ceremony gave students a chance to recall the sacrifice of past soldiers and acknowledge Kyabram Legacy’s continued support of the widows and children of defence force members.

“This week the St Augustine’s community, in partnership with Kyabram Legacy, reflected on the gift of service many families have given to our armed forces,” St Augustine’s Catholic identity leader Lee Pethybridge said.

“During this ceremony our Year 8 community leaders Greta Sullivan and Blake McMeekan spoke about what the Lone Pine Ceremony and Legacy mean to them as individuals and to our community as a whole.”

Students Ben Dickens and Stella Trezise laid a wreath at the foot of the pine, as did councillors Vicki Neele and John Zobec.

“We thank the Legacy Group for the important work they do in our community and for the opportunity to celebrate the Lone Pine Ceremony in partnership with them,” Ms Pethybridge said.

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