New Anzac tradition created for dad unable to march
FOR as long as she can remember, Pam Hockings' dad, Len Ackworth, had never missed an Anzac Day march but with tributes put on hold due to coronavirus, the Warwick florist has come up with a new way to honour her family's service.
Ms Hockings said it was "horrible" when she found out she would not be allowed to visit the 98-year-old, who fought in WWII and now lives at The Oaks Warwick
"We became a bit emotional about it. Dad has dementia and can't understand why he's not allowed visitors," she said.
"Since 1979, I've been giving him a red rose corsage for him to march with.
"It's the first year he can't do anything."
Ms Hockings also observed the day with her son, who toured Iraq, but now because of state closures, couldn't get up to march alongside his grandfather.
"We're not the only ones in this boat but it's just horrible not to be able to see your loved ones," she said.
It was why, upon hearing that the Warwick RSL was inviting residents to hold driveway services, Ms Hockings decided to adapt her usual tribute to encourage others to get involved.
Using her eucalypt plantation, Ms Hockings was creating wreaths to hang on mailboxes with five per cent of sale profits going back to the Warwick RSL.
Donating six bunches to the RSL to give to dignitaries, she had also knitted a whopping 200 poppies for brooches.
Despite an incredible effort, Ms Hockings, humbled, said she only hoped it would help residents continue to pay respect to fallen soldiers in whatever way they could.
"The dawn service is such a tradition in Warwick, and simply the fact that driveway services have been invented indicates people are still thinking of them," she said.
"It goes to show Anzacs are not being forgotten, and this too, in time, might become a tradition."
To order a wreath, contact Ms Hockings on 0447 069 955 or via her Facebook page, Hokstead Plantation.