Fin­ley RSL Aux­il­iary hosts Rive­rina conf.

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS - ~ So­phie Burge

For the first time, Fin­ley RSL Women’s Aux­il­iary hosted a Coun­try Con­fer­ence, which at­tracted var­i­ous mem­bers of Rive­rina-based RSL Sub-Branches and their sup­port­ing Women’s Aux­il­iaries.

Held at the Fin­ley RS Club on Wed­nes­day last week, about 60 guests lis­tened to re­ports from var­i­ous peo­ple, in­clud­ing Coun­try Coun­cil Women’s Aux­il­iary pres­i­dent Pauline James and South­ern Rive­rina Coun­cil­lor for RSL Sub-Branches Al­lan Hutch­ings.

They spoke on the im­por­tance of Women’s Aux­il­iaries and of­fered prac­ti­cal ad­vice and tips for fundrais­ing and do­nat­ing.

Mrs James also brought along six re­mark­able AN­ZAC Cen­te­nary quilts made by aux­il­iary mem­bers from around the state, as part of a na­tional tour.

One quilt in par­tic­u­lar — ‘The Gal­lipoli Quilt’ — was de­scribed by Mrs James as price­less, as it had trav­elled to Gal­lipoli on An­zac Day this year for the dawn ser­vice to mark 100 years since the first AN­ZACs.

Guest speaker on the day was De­fence Care gen­eral man­ager Robyn Collins who de­liv­ered an im­por­tant mes­sage about the on­go­ing need to sup­port re­turned war vet­er­ans.

‘‘We give on­go­ing sup­port to cur­rent and ex-serv­ing mem­bers of the Aus­tralian De­fence Force and their fam­i­lies in times of in­jury, ill­ness and cri­sis,’’ she said.

‘‘We even help peo­ple around the Fin­ley area and it’s re­ally im­por­tant peo­ple are aware of our ser­vices. In 2014, we got 4195 calls for help, which is dou­ble the year be­fore.

‘‘This says to us that ‘yes, these peo­ple are in need and a lot are in cri­sis phys­i­cally and men­tally who have served in wars in­clud­ing Afghanistan and Iraq’. We need to sup­port them any way we can as de­fence is a high-risk ca­reer phys­i­cally and men­tally.’’

Fin­ley re­turned ser­vice­man Matt Maw, who served in Ti­mor from 2000-01 and Afghanistan in 2006 sup­ported Mrs Collins’ call to ac­tion.

He said blend­ing back into ev­ery­day civil­i­sa­tion can be ex­tremely dif­fi­cult, say­ing he even­tu­ally reached out to the De­part­ment of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs for as­sis­tance af­ter strug­gling to do so.

‘‘It’s a long road to come back and fall into nor­mal life. The DVA are re­ally help­ful and I en­cour­age any­one who needs sup­port to reach out and ask for help,’’ he said.

‘‘Sadly, last year about 12 peo­ple who served in these re­cent wars com­mit­ted sui­cide, which is a ter­ri­ble thought.’’

The Fin­ley RSL Women’s Aux­il­iary only re-formed six months ago af­ter be­ing in re­cess for 10 years.

It was a delight to see two life mem­bers of the Fin­ley Aux­il­iary on the day — sis­ters Marj Kable and Betty Be­van — who orig­i­nally joined on June 8, 1948.

Fin­ley RSL Women’s Aux­il­iary pres­i­dent Karen Pea­cock, CCWA pres­i­dent Pauline James and Fin­ley RSL Women’s Aux­il­iary life mem­ber Betty Be­van with her hand­crafted wreath.

Fin­ley RSL Women’s Aux­il­iary life mem­bers and sis­ters Marj Kable and Betty Be­van and CCWA pres­i­dent Pauline James.

Fin­ley ex-ser­vice­man Matt Maw and De­fenceCare gen­eral man­ager Robyn Collins.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.