War veterans Ron Page (left), 93, and Bill Downer, 80, remember the members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty.
War veterans Ron Page (left), 93, and Bill Downer, 80, remember the members of the armed forces who died in the line of duty. David Nielsen

Wear poppies with pride

POPPIES are the international symbol for Remembrance Day and two Goodna RSL sub-branch veterans will be doing their part to make sure Ipswich residents wear one with pride next week.

Former British war veterans Bill Downer, 80, and Ron Page, 93, will sell the red flowers at St Ives Shopping Centre in Goodna from tomorrow.

It's the sixth year the pair have sold poppies in Goodna and they joked they would be lost without each other.

"Ron's almost blind but he's got the most marvellous memory I've ever come across," Mr Downer said.

"So we work together and I've become his dog and he's my brains."

Mr Page, who served with the British Armed Forces for the entire Second World War, said Remembrance Day held a special place in the lives of those born outside of Australia.

"We're British and to us Remembrance Day is something that was drummed into us from when we were little kids," Mr Page said.

"Anzac Day is a wonderful day for Australians and my father in-law was an original Anzac so the day is important to our family.

"Remembrance Day however is a global day of reflection."

Mr Downer served with the Royal Navy during the Suez Canal conflict and has been involved in the Goodna RSL sub-branch since 1974.

He said he was always pleasantly surprised at the level of interest of young Australians.

"It's amazing how many people stop and ask questions," Mr Downer said.

"People talk a lot about the current conflict in Afghanistan so I think people are more aware of the job our soldiers do."

Mr Page agreed community members were well aware of the importance of Remembrance Day.

"What's incredible is the interest of the younger people, particularly younger women," Mr Page said.

"You sell more to the younger people than you do to older people."



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