In photos: The inaugural RSL LifeCare Poppy Ball

Members of the Defence and veteran community gathered aboard the HMAS Adelaide III for the first ever RSL LifeCare Poppy Ball, a fundraising and engagement event.

At a glance:

  • The occasion was organised by RSL LifeCare with support from RSL NSW, and featured Defence contractor Raytheon Australia as Platinum Sponsor.
  • Among the fundraising initiatives, which raised more than $175,000, was the auctioning of three artworks by speed painter Brad Blaze.
  • As part of the Draw to Remember campaign, members of the Bingara RSL sub-Branch shared stories of their service with Bingara Central School students.
  • Other sub-Branches awarded prizes in recognition of the beautiful artwork displayed for Remembrance Day.

The inaugural Poppy Ball, organised by RSL LifeCare with support from RSL NSW, raised funds for RSL LifeCare’s service delivery for veterans and their families.

RSL NSW members also took part in the Draw to Remember campaign, a joint initiative of RSL NSW and RSL QLD, in the lead-up to Remembrance Day.

Here are the highlights from both initiatives.

The Poppy Ball

On the evening of Remembrance Day, 420 guests boarded the HMAS Adelaide III for the inaugural Poppy Ball, a fundraising gala event organised by RSL LifeCare with support from RSL NSW and the Royal Australian Navy.

The event featured Defence contractor Raytheon Australia as Platinum Sponsor.

“Raytheon Australia recognises the valuable contribution and unique skills that our veteran workforce brings to our role as a trusted capability partner for the Australian Defence Force,” said Michael Ward, Managing Director of Raytheon Australia.

“We understand veterans because many of us are veterans, with more than 36 per cent of our workforce being former servicepeople or those who remain active in the Reserves.

“Against this backdrop, we were honoured to have been the Platinum Sponsor for the inaugural Poppy Ball and we were proud to partner with RSL LifeCare Veteran Services to promote our shared vision around the great value that veterans bring to the places where they live and work.”

Special guests included: His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of Australia; Her Excellency Linda Hurley; The Honourable Chris Minns MP, Premier of NSW; Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond AO; Rear Admiral Jonathan Earley CSC; and RSL NSW President Mick Bainbridge.

The black-tie dinner also featured live and silent auctions, entertainment from the Royal Australian Navy Rock Band Sydney and a special Ceremonial Sunset. The event also featured speed painter Brad Blaze who produced with great speed and acuity portraits of Elton John, Marilyn Monroe and Freddie Mercury, which were auctioned on the night. The event was a great success, raising over $175,000 to support veterans and their families through the services of RSL LifeCare Veteran Services.

Draw to Remember

Draw to Remember, a joint initiative of RSL NSW and RSL QLD, encouraged sub-Branches to visit schools ahead of Remembrance Day and engage students through art and creativity.

In total, 35 sub-Branches participated across the state.

Bingara RSL sub-Branch Vice President Peter Kennedy and Secretary/Treasurer Steve Adams provided students from Bingara Central School with insights into the history of the Bingara Returned Servicemen’s Memorial Park and shared stories of their service.

“The program not only allowed us to share historical knowledge but also fostered a sense of community and unity,” remarked Adams.

RSL NSW members from the War Veterans Village, Old Bar Beach and Taree sub-Branches were also among those to draw alongside students, in an artistic act of remembrance and education that fostered bonds between generations.

In some locations, prizes were awarded in recognition of the beautiful artwork displayed for Remembrance Day.

Check out more coverage of Remembrance Day activities.

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