THE national president of the RSL Rear Admiral Ken Doolan (retd) has been enlisted to gain national support for the Nowra-Greenwell Point RSL Sub-Branch’s highly successful Digger Day promotion.
Rear Admiral Doolan made a special visit to Nowra on Friday to talk with
local members of the sub-branch and hear firsthand about the local group’s
This year will see the third running of Digger Day, which was launched in 2012.
The brainchild of the local sub-branch secretary Rick Meehan, Digger Day is designed to traditionalise the Anzac spirit.
In the past two years the annual charity day has raised $20,000, which has been donated to the Soldier On charity, helping soldiers who have been physically or
psychologically wounded. It was also used to send care packages to troops serving overseas.
Shoalhaven Rugby Club hosts Digger Day at its local ground with the first grade side wearing specially designed jumpers, which are auctioned to raise funds.
It is all leading up to 2015, the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.
Rear Admiral Doolan’s visit was the first time the local branch has hosted the RSL national president.
“It’s great to come to local sub-branches and hear their ideas and there have been many that have started at a local level but grown to be supported by the state and national bodies,” he said.
“I have heard about the Digger Day promotion but it has been great to come and hear about it face to face.”
To gain national support, local promotions have to be taken to both the state and national executives for endorsement.
“I can’t say that support will be forthcoming, it has to go to the executives but I will say if it hadn’t captured my imagination, I wouldn’t be here.”
Rear Admiral Doolan congratulated the local sub-branch on a 42 per cent increase on its membership.
For many years there has been a decline in RSL numbers nationally, however last year across Australia there was an increase.
“We were up in numbers as well, but nowhere near the 42 per cent experienced by the Nowra-Greenwell Point Sub-Branch,” he said.
Mr Meehan said the local group has been actively recruiting members.
“As a group we get out in the community and do things,” he said.
Nowra-Greenwell Point president Fred Dawson said being allowed to have affiliate members for the first time has also seen an increase in support.
“Affiliate members are people who are not necessarily service or ex-service
personnel, but they can now be part of the RSL movement and that is fantastic,” he said.