Walk nears its end
IN retracing the steps of fallen Diggers, Coffs Harbour serviceman Barry Gracey hopes to make a significant contribution to the Anzac legacy in France.
The Coffs Harbour resident started a fundraising walk, dressed in World War I military uniform, in Nambucca Heads last September.
Mr Gracey has done a circuit through Central Queensland towns that were returned soldier settlements.
In coming days he’ll tackle the final leg of his tribute to fallen soldiers of the Somme, walking into the town of Pozieres in Northern France.
“That will complete the 150km walk I started last year,” Mr Gracey said. “In France I will also have a very special duty to complete. When I was in Queensland I met an 82-year-old woman who promised her late mother she would one day place flowers on the grave of her uncle, who is one of the Diggers buried at Villers-Bretonneux. She has never visited France, so I’ll make sure this is done on her behalf.”
Mr Gracey says his fundraising will ensure the 7000 Australians killed during the Battle of Pozieres in 1916 continue to be honoured.
“To date we have raised $13,000 to be donated to the organisation in Pozieres that runs Anzac remembrance ceremonies in the village. Sadly there was no ceremony last year because there was no funding,” he said.
The Pozieres Remembrance Foundation will also stage a collection at the Anzac Day NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors.
“There’s a slogan outside Pozieres that reads ‘Never Forget Australia’, this fundraising will make sure the legacy continues,” Mr Gracey said.