MOREE RSL sub-branch secretary Michael Hankey is pleased to announce that this year’s Anzac Day ceremony will go ahead as planned, despite major fundraising issues leading up to the event.
“The Moree RSL’s ability to raise funds has been impacted through the state-wide investigation into the RSL,” he said.
RSL clubs across the state were stripped of their fundraising rights in the wake of revelations that NSW RSL then-president Don Rowe had misused charity money.
Clubs have relied on fundraisers to raise essential money for wreaths, flags and breakfast for the Anzac Day ceremony. But with the fundraising suspension in place, they have had to look at other ways to make ends meet.
“This year has been a little more challenging for the RSL,” said Mr Hankey.
The Moree RSL sub-branch secretary admitted his biggest worry was the survival of the small sub-branch.
“Thankfully, the RSL Head Office is helping out and making sure we don’t go under.”
Case in point, when Mr Hankey requested $7,000 from Head Office to help with this year’s Anzac Day ceremony and they not only agreed to meet his request, but handed over a further $18,000.
“The $25,000 will cover events right through the year,” he said cheerfully.
To Mr Hankey’s relief, Moree Plains Shire Council has promised to commit a further $3,000 to the ceremony.
“I have heard there are some councils that haven’t even waived the fee for the RSL sub-branch to close a road for the Anzac Day ceremony. The Moree RSL sub-branch is grateful to have a great council on their side,” he said.
The money from council will go towards printing booklets and also affording a PA system.
RSL lifetime member John Tramby said it had been a long and challenging journey for the RSL, but proud that members of the club had managed to pull through to ensure important ceremonies like this survived.
“There are 48 names of soldiers from Moree who lost their lives in 1918. Of those 48 soldiers, two were the Ellicott brothers. Their father John used to live on Morton Street, and both his sons were killed within months of each other towards the end of the war. The Anzac Day ceremony is about honouring those people who served and paid with their lives to save their country.”
According to Mr Tramby, nine of the 48 soldiers died from wounds sustained before the close of the war, illustrating the lingering effect of war.
“These soldiers were wounded during the war time, but died after the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918.”