Ballina RSL, together with the Rotary Satellite Lifestyle Club and the Ballina Shire Council, have launched a poppy commemoration project ahead of this year’s ANZAC Day.

The initiative invites individuals to purchase a hand-knitted poppy for $5 from the Ballina RSL and are encouraged to place them on a memorial wall within the club’s reception to help create a visual representation of respect and gratitude. The poppies have been crafted by members of the Rotary, the Country Women’s Association, and other dedicated individuals.

The initiative was inspired by Helen Hargreaves and Laurie Jackson of the Rotary Satellite Lifestyle Club. 

“The poppy project represents a significant community engagement effort that honours, and fundraises for, our veterans and active service members,” Ballina RSL marketing operations manager Claire Tyson told Club Management.

“It’s a visual and meaningful way for the community to connect with the spirit of ANZAC Day. By supporting this project, Ballina RSL reinforces its commitment to remembrance and supports the Ballina RSL Sub-Branches wonderful efforts in creating a meaningful community event.”

While Ballina RSL has always been a strong supporter of community and veteran initiatives, it’s the first project of its kind for the club.

“This specific handmade poppy project is a unique undertaking. It’s the first of its scale focusing on collaboration with the community groups Rotary Satellite Club of Ballina Lifestyle and Ballina Country Women’s Association, to fundraise through handcrafted items,” Tyson said.

All proceeds from the poppy sales will go towards supporting veterans’ services. Tyson explained it will be donated to Legacy, specifically to assist 10 local families who have lost or had members injured in service.

“The support includes financial assistance, advocacy, and counselling services, helping these families manage the challenges of life after service,” she said.  

Tyson added that Rotary and the RSL club have agreed to donate 300 poppies to the RSL’s sub-branch affiliated ex-service associations to sell, with all proceeds to go towards supporting their yearly activities.

In addition to the poppy purchase and display, the Rotary and Ballina Shire Council have adorned the main street of Ballina with flag banners featuring the knitted poppies. These banners will be used to frame the ANZAC march to the Cenotaph, remaining on display throughout the commemorative events on 26 April.

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