The new president of the Returned and Services League of WA has come to the rescue of Katanning’s RSL sub-branch and halted its planned closure.
Due to a lack of members willing or able to take office duties and the retirement of out-going president Chrissie Day, the sub-branch is struggling to fill positions.
The sub-branch was in the throes of closing just before Christmas until a 12th-hour intervention by new State RSL president and former Katanning resident Graham Edwards, who put the closure on hold.
“The RSL has a great history in the town, (closure) would be a pity for all of those people who have built the RSL branch in Katanning up,” he said.
“I wouldn’t be comfortable if I didn’t at least try (to keep it open).”
In July this year, Ms Day contacted the State RSL headquarters and requested assistance.
“I was unable to organise and run an AGM due to increased business commitments, which included travelling around WA,” she said.
“I am saddened that it would seem I am the last president of the RSL Katanning sub-branch after such a long history.”
Ms Day, who has been helping with planned Anzac centenary commemorations in Albany, received advice from the RSL zone area representative in late October the Katanning sub-branch could continue if it had a service member as president.
Ms Day said she did not know of any members willing to accept the position and was directed to contact State headquarters to begin the closing procedure.
News of the planned closure caught Mr Edwards attention.
Katanning townspeople now hope he can breathe new life into the local RSL sub-branch.
“I’m just very sad about this,” Mr Edwards said. “I do place a high priority on these issues, especially given my connection to Katanning.”
Mr Edwards lived in Katanning for five years, actively involving himself in football and cricket.
He said the RSL’s closure would be a loss with the Anzac centenary only three years off.
The sub-branch has had strong support during this tough time.
The Katanning Lions Club has offered to help with Anzac Day next year and the RSL in Wagin said members were welcome to join the Katanning sub-branch to help boost membership.
“The next step is for me to go down there,” Mr Edwards said.
“I think we owe it to those people who served and their family.”
Mr Edwards is due to visit Katanning RSL this month.