Hundreds of early risers pay respect

A BUMPER crowd of about 1500 people attended the Anzac Day Dawn Service at Charring Cross yesterday. 

Bendigo RSL sub-branch president Cliff Richards said it was the largest turnout he had ever seen at the service. 

"I was overwhelmed," he said. 

"People (were) telling me (how big the crowd was)."

The crowd stood in silence as the Last Post was sounded, followed by a minute of deep reflection. 

Mr Richards said it was important to remember those defence personnel who are currently serving but he would never forget the older veterans. 

"It was great to see so many younger veterans (at the dawn service)," he said. 

"I look at their medals - they have so many stories to tell. 

"I don't have any problem with going up to them and putting my arm around them, and saying, "thanks for what you did"."

Mr Richards said it was also pleasing to see the number of families out and about, participating in Anzac Day activities. 

Bendigo's Kerrie Murley took her children Tannisha, 8, and Baylee, 5, along to the dawn service. 

Ms Murley said the family had decided to attended at the request of Tannisha, who learnt about the Anzac legend at school. 

"We decided that this was the year," she said. 

"The thought of being (at the dawn service) and listening to the speeches.

"It was awesome - very moving."

Ms Murley said Tannisha's friend was participating in the march along Pall Mall and the family would go along to watch. 

"I thought it would be great and it was a moving experience," she said. 

"The kids really enjoyed it." 

Pam and Harold Arnett also attended the service for the first time. 

"One of my husband's friends was in the Vietnam war and passed away," she said.

"We came to represent him." 

Mrs Arnett said the service was emotional.  

She said her two-year-old granddaughter was born on April 25.

"I will bring her along next year," she said.

"It will be very special." 

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