This year’s ANZAC Day Services have been re-scheduled due to the London Marathon’s plans to “take over central London”.
As Australians and New Zealanders prepare to pause and remember the sacrifices of those lost in war on the special 95th anniversary of the ANZAC legend, London events have had to be altered to accommodate for a the sporting event.
This year the London Marathon is to be held on April 25, ANZAC Day, which means commemorative services have been brought forward by three hours.
The change in time has been agreed by both the Australian and New Zealand High Commissions, to ensure there will be little “disruption” to the services.
“The timing of the Wreath Laying Service and Commemorative Service at Westminster Abbey will be earlier in 2010 than in previous years,” the Australian High Commission said in a statement.
“This is due to the London Marathon occurring on the same day.”
The news comes as allegations have cast doubt over the fundraising activities of the London Marathon.
Organisers of the London Marathon have denied claims broadcasted on Channel 4’s Dispatches program last Thursday that up to three quarters of the charitable funds raised failed to reach good causes.
It is alleged that £17.8 million raised from last year’s marathon was spent on salaries and other unspecified costs incurred by orgainsers.
Looking to ANZAC Day, Australian High Commissioner John Dauth has encouraged all those wishing to pay their respects to join him for commemorations on April 25.
London Legacy President Lindsay Birrell said the charity organisation will be holding its annual collection drives at ANZAC Day events in London.
Mr Birrell appealed to all Australians in London to attend all commemorative services despite the changes.
“ANZAC Day sees the Australian and New Zealand communities put their keen sporting rivalries on hold for a day when they join together to commemorate the sacrifices made by their families and forebears during periods of conflict,” London Legacy said in a statement.
“To accommodate the many thousands of runners and spectators, a number of commemorative events have had their timings changed.”
This year’s ANZAC Day services will include a Dawn Service at the New Zealand Memorial, diagonally opposite the Australian War Memorial at 5am. Wreaths will be laid at the Australian War Memorial after.
Another wreath laying service at The Cenotaph at Whitehall at 8am.
The Australian and New Zealand High Commissioners will be laying the first wreaths, followed by representatives of other countries.
A commemorative service will then be held at 9am at Westminster Abbey, and complimentary tickets are required to attend, which are available from the Australian High Commission’s website, www.uk.embassy.gov.au.
Traditionally the ANZAC Day Wreath Laying services take place at 11am with the Westminster Abbey service usually held at 12pm.
London Legacy will also be present for people to buy pins and make donation at the official ceremonies as well as community celebrations.
These include the ANZAC Sports Challenge and the ANZAC Day Church session at Clapham Grand on Sunday afternoon.