MURWILLUMBAH business owners will shut their doors and Mount Saint Patrick students will down books in honour of Nathan Bewes, whose life will be celebrated at Sacred Heart Catholic Church today.
The 6RAR Private, who was tragically killed serving in Afghanistan on July 9, grew up in Murwillumbah and attended the hilltop school from kindergarten to graduation in 2004.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will also break from the campaign trail to pay their respects today along with defence force dignitaries.
Mount Saint Patrick College SRC member Xanthe Eppelstun and school captain Paul Larkin will be among those from the school who will form an honour guard as Pte Bewes’ cortege moves from the church to a private burial.
Mr Larkin said the guard of honour was a school tradition.
“As a community, we want to support the Bewes family in its time of need and it is hard for the individual to express that support,” Xanthe explained yesterday.
“By forming a guard of honour it gives us a chance to express our support humbly and respectfully as a community and also acknowledge the link Nathan had to the school,” Paul added.
Murwillumbah RSL Sub Branch and 225 Army Cadet Unit will also take part in the celebration and lay poppies for the fallen soldier.
The Murwillumbah District Business Chamber has asked CBD business owners to close their doors and line Main and Wharf Streets as Pte Bewes’ casket moves through town. Parking will be restricted in Murwillumbah CBD from 6.30am this morning for the 11am service and police will close roads for the cortege, with traffic returned to normal about 12.30pm.
In lieu of flowers, the Bewes family requested donations to the Salvation Army.
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