For Wes Wridgway, Anzac Day is a time to remember the mates he lost during – and as a result of – service.

Mr Wridgway served in the army for 24 years, starting as a truck driver when he was 17. From there, he joined the military police, becoming a detective and crime scene examiner in East Timor.

“On Anzac Day, I remember the fallen and the original purpose of the day, but after 24 years of service, I remember a lot of those mates I lost in service, as well as those who have taken their own lives as a result of service,” he said.

“My life’s passion as Doreen RSL president is to try and reach out to younger veterans and bring them into the RSL.”

The Doreen RSL president will lead Thursday’s Anzac Day service at the Laurimar Cenotaph at 5.55am, as well as a tribute to fallen soldiers before the inaugural Anzac Day cup match between Laurimar and Mernda football clubs.

The Ode of Remembrance, Last Post and a minute’s silence will be held before the start of the senior match at 2pm.

“It’s special for our community and the RSL. It will be significant,” he said.

Anzac Day services will also be held at the Epping RSL at 6am and Craigieburn Anzac Park at 6am and 10am.