Russell receives top honour from State RSL

Russell Blanch from Bangalow displays the RSL Meritorious Service Medal he received at a ceremony in Sydney last week.
Russell Blanch from Bangalow displays the RSL Meritorious Service Medal he received at a ceremony in Sydney last week.
Russell Blanch is justifiably proud of his 63 years service to the Bangalow RSL Sub-Branch.

The 87-year-old, who has been the vice-president for more than 40 years, was last week awarded for his long service with the highest honour available to a sub-branch member – the RSL Meritorious Service Medal.

Russell was presented with the medal by the Governor of NSW Marie Bashir at a ceremony in Sydney.

Only four other sub-branch members from New South Wales also received the medal.

The medal can only be presented to sub-branch members who are also life members of the RSL and who have had a minimum of 25 years service.

“I was very honoured to receive the medal,” Russell said.

“It has been a pleasure to be involved with the RSL for so long.”

Russell’s daughter Helen and son John attended the ceremony.

Russell’s late father was the secretary of the Bangalow sub-branch after WW1.

“My dad was a proud man when my brother and I joined the RSL,” Russell said.

Russell has organised the Anzac Day march in Bangalow for the past 40 years and has marched in every one of them except this year when he was driven in a car.

He attends sub-branch meetings once a month and has made ‘wonderful friends’ over the years.

President of the Bangalow RSL Sub-Branch Chris Gray said the medal was an extremely rare award and it was a great honour, not only for Russell, but also for the sub-branch.

Footnote: Bob Crosthwaite from Uralba, who is a member of the Byron Bay RSL Sub-Branch, was also awarded the medal.

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