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Vietnam Veterans Day and RSL sub branches undergo training to fundraise again

A small crowd commemorated the annual Vietnam Veterans Day on Sunday at the Parkes Vietnam War Memorial.

Parkes RSL Sub Branch Vice President Robert Brooke presided over events in the absence of President Terry Knowles and praised the efforts of the returned Vietnam veterans, who not only served overseas under hostile conditions but also encountered them on their return to Australia.

This year's service highlighted the anniversary of the battle of Binh Ba which saw Australians embroiled in a monumental battle in which our soldiers exhibited extreme bravery in the face of a numerically superior and well-trained enemy force.

Wreaths were laid by Keith Woodlands, representing the Vietnam veterans, Ian Griffey - the Sons of Parkes, councillors George Pratt and Pat Smith from Parkes Shire Council, Robert Brooke - the National servicemen and Paul Thomas on behalf of the Parkes RSL Sub Branch.

Return of fundraising welcomed by Parkes RSL Sub Branch and women's auxiliary 

In other Parkes RSL Sub Branch news - the sub branch hosted representatives from Canowindra, Cowra, Forbes, Molong, Trundle, Condobolin, Grenfell Wirrimah/Koorawatha RSL sub branches last Wednesday at a training session conducted by RSL NSW, regarding fundraising and governance standards required for not-for-profit bodies.

Parkes RSL Secretary Paul Thomas said he was pleased to see things getting back to normal after some two years in the fundraising wilderness. RSL sub branches across NSW have been given the green light to resume selling poppies and other memorabilia.

"The sub branch and our auxiliary are really happy to be back doing what we do," he said.

"Our organisation provides hospital visitations, welfare checks and other important initiatives to our members.

"An event such as Anzac Day costs the sub branch around $8000 to host. So, every fundraising effort is required. We do need those funds."

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RSL NSW voluntarily suspended all fundraising activities, including Poppy Day sales and raffles, in August 2017.

The state body implemented the ban after its then newly-elected leadership found some of its processes were illegal under the state's charity laws.

The ban has now been lifted.

Mr Thomas said the reintroduction of fundraising would be particularly welcomed by the Parkes RSL Women's Auxiliary, who felt their efforts were not needed.

"Their entire operation is to fundraise. The auxiliary members love to help out with the selling of poppies, memorabilia, along with the traditional cake stalls," he said.

Trustees, presidents, vice presidents, treasurers and honorary secretaries attended the training session.

The training is part of a state-wide initiative by RSL NSW that will see all 348 sub branches across the state invited to undertake this training. It's being delivered by Justice Connect and Valentyna Jurkiw from the legal team at RSL NSW.

The governance and compliance are important in evolving RSL NSW both at sub branches and the RSL NSW head office.

Mr Thomas said this training is part of evolving RSL NSW more broadly, and ensuring the public can have full confidence in supporting the important grass-root activities being undertaken everyday by sub branches for veterans and their families.

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