Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders will soon begin making their way to Gallipoli to mark the centenary of World War One.
Among those who will gather at the ANZAC Commemorative site for the dawn service on April 25 will be 16-year-old Australian Air Force Cadet (AAFC) Flight Sergeant Felicity West, the winer of the 2014 Eleanore Tibble Memorial Pilgrimage Scholarship.
West says she will wear her great grandfather’s medals at the event, where she will represent the 7,000 Australian Air Force Cadets.
“I am absolutely honoured and touched to be representing such an amazing organisation in one of Australia’s most important milestones,” West said in a statement.
“I still can’t believe that I will be standing there, where our brave heroes sacrificed all for our country.
“I have the deepest respect for the Australians, New Zealanders, Allied troops and the Turkish troops that sacrificed all at Gallipoli.”
The scholarship, which sponsors an AAFC cadet to travel with the Australian Defence Force to Gallipoli and participate in ANZAC Day commemorations, is named after Cadet Sergeant Eleanore Tibble, who took her own life in 2000 at the age of 15 after unfounded allegations of fraternisation with a cadet officer.
“I not only want to represent the AAFC on my trip, but also Eleanore Tibble,” West said.
“She was so young, and I believe it is fit to honour her as well in my travels. I will be laying a handmade poppy on behalf of Eleanore, just to let her know that whilst I did not meet her, I will be thinking of her.”
The Air Force Cadets is a youth development organisation for boys and girls aged between 13 and 18. Run by the RAAF, participants learn about and experience powered flying and gliding, as well as develop leadership, survival and teamwork skills.