104 years young

POSTHUMAS AWARD: Val Laughton received a World War II service certificate and medallion on behalf of her late husband David Laughton.

By Leon Georgiou

AROUND 85 people gathered at the Mount Gambier Community RSL last Sunday for the club’s annual luncheon.

Normally held around July, this year’s event had to be delayed into August due to COVID restrictions.

The event, which celebrates the club’s founding, has been running for around 75 years.

It’s a tradition however, that started nearly three decades after the founding of the Mount Gambier RSL.

Consequently, this year’s event was in fact a celebration of the club’s 104th birthday.

Mount Gambier Police Inspector, Karmen Conway, was guest speaker at the event.

Inspector Conway spoke about her mother Pamela Murray-White, a former army officer and teacher, who founded the Operation Flinders Project.

Ms Murray-White felt there were elements of army life and culture that could have a positive impact on young people with behavioural issues.

She took those elements and worked with other defence force personnel to set up a program aimed at helping troubled youth.

Mount Gambier Community RSL President Bob Sandow said the talk “went down very well”, with Ms Murray-Whites’ army connection resonating with RSL members.

The luncheon was also used to honour Mount Gambier Community RSL manager, Kelly Copeland, who was awarded a certificate of appreciation in recognition of her efforts over the past year.

World War II serviceman, Mr David Laughton, received a posthumous service certificate and medallion, which were both accepted by Ms Val Laughton, on behalf of her late husband.

While the luncheon is technically a celebration of the Mount Gambier RSL’s foundation, Mr Sandow said that ultimately, the annual event was about comradeship, supporting the club, and getting some of the less active members together.

“The aim is not to make money,” he said.

“The aim is for… people to come along and help the local RSL and support its work.”