Laurieton RSL Sub-Branch giving away poppies for Remembrance Day

Poppies for free: People can collect a poppy from the Laurieton United Services Club.
Poppies for free: People can collect a poppy from the Laurieton United Services Club.

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The community’s love of buying a Remembrance Day poppy will be a little different this year.

Laurieton RSL Sub-Branch president Mike McClelland said the branch would follow a state council directive and not sell the popular poppy.

While the branch will follow the edict, Mr McClelland said about 500 poppies are available for free from the Laurieton United Services Club and will be handed out at the Memorial Park Remembrance Day service in Laurieton on November 11. 

Mr McClelland said a ‘kerfuffle’ in state branch meant that the sub-branch had stopped all fundraising and the accepting of donations.

The Laurieton RSL branch president said an enquiry is continuing into the concerning action. 

“It’s definitely soured the public’s perception of the RSL but hopefully an enquiry will clear that up,”  Mr McClelland said.

Mr McClelland said he wanted to stress the actions of others had nothing to do with the Laurieton branch. He said it was sad that unfortunately the actions of a few had damaged the RSL brand. 

An inquiry by Patricia Bergin SC into RSL NSW – the Bergin Inquiry – and an investigation into state organisation by the Australia Charities and not-for-profits Commission is currently underway.

State president James Brown said that since it was elected in May, the new state council has been reviewing the operations of the League.

“We have been particularly conscious of the need to review our operations with regard to the raising of funds from the public given our ongoing engagement with the Bergin Inquiry and ACNC investigation,” Mr Brown said in a statement.

Port Macquarie RSL Sub-Branch president Greg Laird Laird praised the community for their support of the sub-branch through the purchase of poppies over the years.

“While we can’t fundraise for Remembrance Day, we can provide a poppy free to the community as a way of saying thank you for your support,” he said.

Mr Laird said the loss of sales from poppies would have an impact in some areas of the sub-branch movement at the local level.

“The biggest impact is on our women’s auxiliary who do a lot of our fundraising through stalls, raffles and, of course, the sale of poppies.

“They (the women’s auxiliary) are sitting on their hands. We love them dearly for all their hard work but they can’t do any fundraising. It’s a travesty.”

The community is invited to the Remembrance Day Service on Saturday, November 11 at Memorial Park in Laurieton which starts at 10.55am. 

There is also a service at the Kendall War Memorial Park from 10.45am. After the service the Diggers will be retiring to the Kendall Citizen and Services Club.