DIGNITARIES from Australia and New Zealand are to visit Brightlingsea to commemorate honour the 100th anniversary of thousands of Anzac soldiers being based in the town.

About 10,000 Anzacs underwent training and preparation before being despatched to serve in the First World War.

Margaret Stone, the curator of Brightlingsea Museum, has been tracing Australians and Kiwis who have links to the area.

Mrs Stone and Anne Berry, a friend of the museum, went on Australian and New Zealand websites to find more information and their research reaped rich rewards.

Mrs Stone said: “It’s creating a lot of interest. For several years I have been getting people from Australia contacting me and saying their grandfather was a soldier here and they wanted to know something about the town.

“For the museum tThis has been an ongoing project but with this centenary, we just had to make it special.”

Anne did radio interviews and was contacted by descendants from Victoria and Tasmania.

She said: “A man aged over 90 never believed he would hear his dad’s name over the radio.”

The museum is putting information into its database and also creating small profiles of servicemen at the museum.

The research will be part of the celebrations which are being planned to mark the centenary.

Around 10 locals, who are either descended from Anzacs or their brides’ families, are expected at the celebrations along with thousands of others.

Dignitaries from the Australian and New Zealand High Commissions are also due to attend.

Events start on Friday, June 17, with an art show, featuring works from soldiers.

Saturday sees an Anzac-themed carnival procession and fete plus art show in the afternoon with music and food in the evening.

Sunday features a parade from Hurst Green for a service of commemoration at 11.45am at the war memorial which will then move on to the recreation ground where a cricket match will take place between Brightlingsea and Australia House Cricket Club.

Visit the Brightlingsea Museum Facebook page or website at brightlingseamuseum.com or call Mrs Stone on 01206 303286.