ALYSSA Britnell, the young university student who read a moving poem at the official opening of the Garden of the Grieving Mother, was acknowledged for her participation last week.
Alyssa was invited to the Garden by the Arch of Victory/Avenue of Honour Committee who had been asked by the Governor General to make a presentation on his behalf. Alyssa was also asked to be a young ambassador of the committee. Garden of the Grieving Mother sub-committee chairman Garry Snowden said when the committee started planning the ceremony they had many discussions about what form the ceremony would take. “Eventually we reached a point where we said we don’t want it to be a traditional military style ceremony, we want it to be quite different and eventually we settled on having two people present after the Mother had been unveiledwhen people could see the image,” Mr Snowden said.
“We had David Hobson singing the song ‘Bring them home’ and then we decided we wanted a young person to round off the ceremony by reciting a poem I had found. “To this day I don’t know who wrote it but it says so much about a grieving mother, and The Miner newspaper played a role in this because at the time I was thinking who was the young person we can get, The Miner published an article about a poem that Alyssa wrote about her Nan and it was apparent here was a young woman in our community who really is already interested in the experience of women back in the war time years, the Second World War then, and she had also received some recognition for some research she had done, represented Australia at Gallipoli at the Dawn Service.
“Alyssa agreed to come on board and I met with her probably 3 or four times, taking turns to read the poem and we talked about what the mother was thinking and feeling in this because it wasn’t only the words we wanted people to hear but for people to feel the emotion behind it.”
Alyssa’s reading struck a chord with those who heard her and prompted the Governor General’s Office to call Mr Snowden, indicating that he was also very impressed and asked if the Committee would make the presentation of a medal, to Alyssa, on his behalf.
“This opportunity was pretty amazing,” Alyssa said.
“It’s pretty extraordinary, a lot of practice went into learning the poem and it’s just been incredible. “I never thought all of these opportunities would come out of article in the Miner.”
Mr Bruce Price President of the Arch of Victory/ Avenue of Honour Committee also made a presentation to the Miner News with a Certificate of Appreciation for their contribution to the Garden of the Grieving Mother.