NEWS CENTRE

MERCY SPIRIT IN COMMUNITY SERVICE

Outside of his role in ISMAPNG Facilities & Property Management and as manager of Mercy Star of the Sea Yamba and Seville Conference Centre Cairns, Alan Schofield contributes significantly to his local community in the role of Yamba Surf Life Saving Club President. Recently Alan was part of an experience paying tribute to the ANZACs at Gallipoli. Here Alan’s fellow traveller Jo King recounts the experience.

What an absolutely amazing event to be a part of!

It’s hard to highlight anything in such a remarkable event, which has been over five years in the making, with countless fundraisers, meetings and of course training.

The two-day surf boat event prior to the Gallipoli celebration, though not a race as we were constantly being reminded of, was extraordinary. The course ended up being shortened as the Gallipoli peninsula was getting ready for shut down prior to the dawn service. Both days started out cold, windy and drizzling rain, but soon turned into blue skies and sunshine. The scenery was magnificent and the colour and clarity of the water indescribable. Twenty-two boats took part with five from Turkey. The starts were staggered into five waves, with the hope of everyone finishing at roughly the same time. Day 2 ended at Brighton Beach, just south of Anzac Cove. All boaties were then able to walk along the beach to Anzac Cove, while the boats were rowed across. We were all given the opportunity to row out from Anzac Cove and reflect on what those who had come before us were about to embark upon. Oars were raised in tribute to all who served.

At 4am on the morning of April 25th, 2015, twenty-six surf boats slipped silently into the water off Gelibou Village. We were re-enacting the ANZAC landing. On the beach were over 4000 people. As we sat silently in the surf boat, waiting for our wave to row onto the beach, a light fog rolled in, a lone piper in the Cottesloe boat began piping, followed by the softly sung words of Waltzing Matilda; I still get goose bumps remembering it. We slowly rowed ashore, the phosphorous in the water leaving a green glow from every stroke, and collectively raised our oars in a minute’s silence, a very proud and stirring moment. We sat on the beach for a full and all inclusive Dawn Service.

The experience of our time in Turkey, rowing the Dardanelles, touring the battlefields, re-enacting the ANZAC landing and participating in the dawn service is very difficult to put into words. This was a once in a life time event, and these memories will last forever.

Thank you to the Yamba G100 team, a great bunch of people who shared the journey with me, we will always have that bond and thanks to the Community who helped us fulfil the dream.

We honour those who served before us and we will remember them.

Jo King for Gallipoli 100 Team 2015

Messages to: Alan Schofield

Photos:
Top: Alan Schofield
Middle: The Yamba crew on Anzac Cove
Bottom: The ribbon with the medal is the same ribbon issued to the Anzacs with their Gallipoli medals.