Reason to celebrate

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Legion of Frontiersmen O Troop Invercargill members (from left) Captain Murray Hamblin, Sergeant Alister Webb and Corporal Justin Stewart.

FOR the first time in 30 years, Legion of Frontiersmen from throughout the country will be travelling south for the organisation’s national conference at Queen’s Birthday Weekend.

The Legion of Frontiersmen is a volunteer organisation and members are available to help with car parking, security, crowd control, functions and traffic management.

O Troop Invercargill Captain Murray Hamblin and Sergeant Alister Webb, who attend the conference in the North Island every year, are looking forward to hosting the event this year.

Mr Hamblin said they decided to nominate Invercargill because the city last hosted the conference in 1988.

“It seemed like the right time to do it.

“It’s good to showcase Invercargill… and it’s a good chance for our members who haven’t been to conferences before to meet people in other units and make new friends.”

Registrations will be held on Friday, June 1, at the Invercargill Workingmen’s Club followed by a meeting. The main conference meeting will then be held on the Saturday, before a dinner at the club.

Among the evening festivities will be the toast of “the 9000” at 9pm, which commemorates those who died in battle.

Sunday, the frontiersmen will attend a service at the Salvation Army at 10.30am and go from there to the Cenotaph to lay a wreath.

A bugler from the Ascot Park Hotel Brass Band will perform during the weekend and an election for the next commandant, the frontiersmen’s highest position, will also be held.

The Invercargill troop has about 15 members and had experienced growth during the past two to three years.

The youngest member was a 13-year-old cadet, while the oldest was in his 60s, Mr Hamblin said.

Mr Webb and Corporal Richard Patton were the two longest serving members, Mr Hamblin said.

The majority of the frontiersmen’s work was at ILT Stadium Southland, assisting with parking cars and directing traffic at busy events such as netball and basketball games.

The organisation received a donation for the work they completed, he said.

“They look after us well, and we look after the community as well,” Mr Hamblin said.

Once involved, members were passionate about their community work.

“I like serving the community, that’s the main thing,” Mr Webb said.

A 95-year-old frontierswoman in the North Island “goes out in the rain, hail or snow doing these duties”, he said.

In Invercargill, Corporal Justin Stewart was one of their best volunteers, Mr Webb said.

“I’m really proud of this guy. He might be in a walking frame but he does a lot of duties.”

Mr Hamblin said they often had to fit the frontiersmen duties around other work and family commitments.

“But we love it, we love doing it.”

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