Nasho’s Upper Hunter Sub-Branch members buoyed by recent generous Bengalla donation

National Servicemen’s Association and Affiliates (Nasho) Upper Hunter Sub-Branch members Ray Cullen, Ray Cannon, Malcolm Rothe, Harry Yonge and Ian Hilder.

National Servicemen’s Association and Affiliates (Nasho) Upper Hunter Sub-Branch members Ray Cullen, Ray Cannon, Malcolm Rothe, Harry Yonge and Ian Hilder.

A GENEROUS donation by the Bengalla Mining Company will ensure Muswellbrook Memorial Grove is looking a treat in time for the National Servicemen’s Association and Affiliates (Nasho) Memorial Day next month.

The Nasho’s Upper Hunter Sub-Branch members are preparing to host the annual service at the Aberdeen Street precinct on Saturday, February 16, from 10am.

Afterwards, the local group will conduct its AGM at the Muswellbrook RSL Club at noon.

“We’re hoping to have everything finished [there] over the next five or so weeks,” vice-president/treasurer Ray Cannon said.

“The sub-branch would like to thank Bengalla for all the ongoing support the company has given us to set up our garden in the first place – and its revamp.

“Their latest gift of $3000 was very much appreciated.

“Our gratitude also extends to ARTC, Wear P.S. & K.E., Muswellbrook Shire Council, St Heliers Correctional Centre inmates and the Memorial Grove committee, as well as the Nasho helpers who assist with the garden over the past few years.”

Even though the National Servicemen’s Association and Affiliates state organisation formed in 1996, the Upper Hunter Sub-Branch (Scone) started 12 months later with Malcolm Frame elected president, Peter Ward secretary and John Kilroy treasurer.

Since then, the group has worked behind the scenes in the community for decades.

And, while some things, like the day of their weekly raffle, have changed, the purpose of the local contingent remains the same.

“The Muswellbrook members joined with the Scone branch in 1978,” Mr Cannon said.

“Looking at what we could do to raise funds [back then], the members decided to run a raffle each Thursday night.

“We continued to hold it until 2000.

“At the AGM [that year], Peter and John stood down.

“Larry Pittman took over as secretary and I became treasurer, with Malcolm retaining the presidency.

“We then moved our raffle night to a Wednesday – and we still run it, except the second Wednesday of each month.

“The guys also attend the RSL League meetings, we have a Benevolent Fund set up for our deceased members’ families, and we place a plaque on a headstone in our Nasho garden.

“With the money made from our raffles over the years, we’ve given an oxygen concentrator plus other funding to Muswellbrook Carelink; an emergency trolley and a big television to Muswellbrook District Hospital; funds to Muswellbrook Hospital Auxiliary, Legacy, cancer appeals, Transcare, Red Door Community Kitchen, charity events, five Scouting groups and three Girl Guides, as well as seven lifting belts to Ambulance NSW stations in the Upper Hunter.

“We would like to thank the Muswellbrook RSL Club and its members for supporting our raffles.

“All up, we’ve handed over more than $50,000 to the community.”