The Greensborough RSL Sub-Branch established the Living Spirit Fellowship in 2010 because it wanted to nurture younger generations to understand the sacrifices made by many men and women of the Australian Defence Forces in ensuring the great freedom we enjoy today is never forgotten. The Fellowship provides for the successful applicant and his/her guardian to join an escorted group for an 8 to 10 day tour of Thailand and Myanmar which includes the ANZAC Dawn Service at Hellfire Pass on 25 April 2017. It covers their airfares, accommodation, most meals and related expenses.
The winners of the six previous Fellowships were:
- 2015-16 Bridget James from OLMC, Heidelberg (the runner-up was a student from Eltham College)
- 2014-15 Alana Roberts from OLMC, Heidelberg (the runner-up was a student from the Catholic Ladies College, Eltham who was also awarded the same tour to Hellfire Pass)
- 2013-14 Aydan Hussein from Mill Park Secondary College;
- 2012-13 Laura Muir from Loyola College Bundoora;
- 2011-12 Chelsea Heaney from Eltham High School; and
- 2010-11 Jake Breheny from Greensborough Secondary College.
In previous years, invitations were sent to all 18 secondary schools and colleges in our surrounding area inviting their Year 10, 11 and 12 students to apply for the Fellowship. Applications have been received from students residing in Box Hill North, Briar Hill, Bundoora, Diamond Creek, Doreen, Eltham, Eltham North, Greensborough, Heidelberg, Heidelberg Heights, Hurstbridge, Lower Plenty, Macleod, Mill Park, Montmorency, Plenty, Rosanna, Viewbank, Watsonia and Wattle Glen.
Students are required to make a submission in accordance with the Application Form that includes a Questionnaire Section covering several subject matters. The four member Selection Panel assess the correctness of their answers along with their stated expectations of the proposed visit to Hellfire Pass, Myanmar and what message they would bring back to the community. Interviews are normally conducted with the top three to five applicants in November. The Fellowship has been largely funded by the generous financial support of sponsors, Cannon Toyota Heidelberg, Audio Clinic Greensborough and the Dyson Group of Companies together with RSL Sub-Branch funds and donations.
In her submission, the winner of the 2015-16 Fellowship, Bridget James stated that she wanted to walk in the footsteps of her great grandfather who died as a prisoner of war at Hellfire Pass. The winner of the 2014-15 Fellowship, Alana Roberts stated she expected the tour to be “a once in a lifetime experience”. On her return she said the experience was “AMAZING”. Aydan Hussein, the winner of the 2013-14 Fellowship, said he “enjoyed the tour immensely and it was a great cultural and historical learning experience”.
Information Packs containing the Application Form have been distributed to all 18 surrounding secondary schools and colleges. Students who are interested in applying for the next Fellowship, are encouraged to ask their Year Co-ordinator or teacher for a copy of the Application Form. Alternatively, Application Forms may be collected from the receptionist at the Greensborough RSL Sub-Branch or requested by email from: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications for the current year close on Friday 21 October 2016.