50-year-service keeps going

John Stanhope OAM with his trumpet. Picture: DONGYUN KWON

By Dongyun Kwon

Anzac Day commemoration in Healesville keeps going this year on Thursday 25 April with a bugle and trumpet performance by John Stanhope OAM.

This year marks his 50th year of service on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day for the Healesville RSL.

Mr Stanhope said he has played bugle and trumpet on both services since 1974 after the president of the Healesville RSL suggested to him although he doesn’t have any military background.

“I was 26 back then,” he said.

“I practice two or three weeks before and then come in and play it on the day.

“The reason why I do it is because it’s great to do something for returned men and women to make their Anzac Day and Remembrance Day more memorable.”

Back in the days when the bugler first started his performance, only a few people took part in the two special commemorative services.

As the years have gone on, the two special days become bigger and more important with broad age groups getting involved.

“It’s important to get the younger generations involved in to keep Anzac Day and Remembrance Day,” Mr Stanhope said.

After his long time service to the community, Mr Stanhope received an Order of Australia Medal in 2021.

“I was able to go to Government House and received a medal from the governor,” the 76-year-old bugler said.

“It was really good.”

Mr Stanhope first started learning the trumpet at school when he was eight.

“My parents expected me to play back then,” he said.

“I was more interested in music than sports.

“My wife’s a musician too, she’s a clarinet player.”

Healesville RSL president Colette Shaw said the Healesville RSL remains indebted to Mr Stanhope for his ongoing support of the Healesville RSL and its commemorative occasions.

“The Last Post and Reveille are significant to all commemorative services,” she said.

“The Last Post signifies the end of the day’s activities, whereas the Reveille is the signal to rise in the morning. The playing of the bugle is synonymous with these two military calls.

“The Healesville RSL has been especially fortunate over the past 50 years to have John Stanhope OAM perform The Last Post and Reveille in person, providing a more moving and fitting tribute, than any recording could ever hope to achieve.”