Nowra RSL Sub-Branch to take $30k hit over badge sales

CONCERN: Nowra RSL Sub-Branch secretary Rick Meehan (left) and vice-president Fred Campbell are disappointed there will be no Anzac badges sales in the Shoalhaven this year.
CONCERN: Nowra RSL Sub-Branch secretary Rick Meehan (left) and vice-president Fred Campbell are disappointed there will be no Anzac badges sales in the Shoalhaven this year.

For the first time in its almost 100 year history the Nowra RSL Sub-Branch will not be fundraising this Anzac Day.

Despite the year long Bergin Inquiry by former Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin into the NSW RSL being released the organisation is still not allowed to fundraise.

That means Nowra RSL Sub-Branch members will not be selling badges this Anzac Day.

“Where we would normally have members selling badges in Coles, Woolworths and Bunnings all week as well as having mobile sellers throughout the city, this year we will have none,” said Sub-Branch secretary Rick Meehan.

He said it is estimated the local sub-branch would lose around $30,000 by not being able to fundraise.

“We haven’t been able to fundraise at all since the inquiry was called,” Mr Meehan said.

“Selling badges in the lead up of the Anzac week is our major fundraising event each year.

“The charitable status of the organisation is still to be resolved.

“And until that happens we are unable to fundraise, including selling badges or even accepting donations.”

Mr Meehan said it is hoped the issue would be resolved by Armistice Day on November 11.

“It would be tragic if we can’t at least do something for the centenary of the end of World War I,” he said.

All money raised by the Nowra Sub-branch is used in its day-to-day operations as well as in the welfare and support of its members.

With 350 members the Nowra Sub-Branch is the biggest such organisation in the Shoalhaven.

“Selling badges on Anzac Day is our only real source of income,” said vice-president Fred Campbell.

“Certainly we are supported by the Shoalhaven Ex-Servicemen’s Club but we do not derive income from rent or other activities.”

Mr Meehan said missing out on that fundraising had already started to affect the sub-branch’s activities.

“We have had to cancel a number of outings and trips for members and we will not be able to donate books to schools in the district which we do each Anzac Day,” he said.

“It is about $3000 alone we spend on books each year for local schools.

“Despite this we are still out in the community doing our bit. We are still working and providing services for our members.

“All the troubles with state office have certainly put the RSL in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

“The Nowra RSL is so well respected down here we hope the community has not lost respect for us as an organisation.

“We have asked the state body for financial assistance to get us through.”

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