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NDL News article 07/03/2017 Tamworth RSL Sub Branch


Tamworth RSL sub-branch welcomes four life members

By Jamieson Murphy - March 7, 2017

Between the four of them, there’s almost 150 years of Tamworth RSL sub-branch membership – last week they were awarded life membership with the organisation they’ve committed so much of their time to.

It’s a huge achievement, particularly given the Tamworth RSL sub-branch has only had 28 lifetime members since 1952. “So to have four in one year is phenomenal,” the sub-branch’s vice president Sandra Lambkin said. It’s no simple process to become a life member, which is a nationally recognised award.

First you must be nominated by the sub-branch, which then puts it through to the district council, who assess the application and pass it on to the state RSL branch, before finally going to the national RSL committee. At any stage the application can be knocked back. “The whole process takes about a year,” Mrs Lambkin said.

During his 33 years of membership and 18 years as a committee member, Max Hyson has been the architect of many sub-branch initiatives. “Mate, it’s a great honour – everyone says that, but it really is,” Mr Hyson said.

Bill Thomas – or ‘China’ as his mates call him – has been with the organisation since the 70s. For more than two decades, he’s been a fierce and dedicated pension officer. “I don’t know how many pensions I’ve done over the years – probably thousands – but I’ve cost the Department of Veterans Affairs a lot of money over the years, and still costing them,” Mr Thomas said, chuckling.

For many of those years, Bruce Clark has been by Mr Thomas’ side, advocating on behalf of veterans. “I find it’s a reason to get out of bed,” Mr Clark said. “If we’re not here doing the work that we do, some other poor bugger’s going to miss out on their entitlements.” Mr Clark also became a Justice of the Peace, a position he maintains for the benefit of branch members.

Mrs Lambkin, who is also the president of the New England District Council of RSL sub-branches, said the biggest thing to happen during the newly-minted life members’ terms was the sale of the branch’s former Kable Avenue site, which is now West Diggers, and establishing its current office at 107 Bridge St.


                                                Life members

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