RSL sub branch secretary Bob Stretton and president Ivan Friske donate a bell to Lt Dave Petherick on behalf of the Gympie Navy Cadets.
RSL sub branch secretary Bob Stretton and president Ivan Friske donate a bell to Lt Dave Petherick on behalf of the Gympie Navy Cadets. Craig Warhurst

Bob gets top RSL gong

RSL delegates from throughout the Wide Bay Burnett descended on Gympie at the weekend for the 93rd annual district RSL congress.

Civic leaders joined RSL state hierarchy and more than 100 members and guests in the Orchid Room of the Gympie RSL for the congress on Saturday afternoon, followed by a dinner on Saturday night and a wreath-laying ceremony and morning tea on Sunday.

The occasion was also used to award a surprised Gympie sub-branch secretary treasurer, Bob Stretton, with the highest accolade for services to the RSL, the national Meritorious Medal.

Mr Stretton has been a member of the RSL for 34 years and a member of the organisation's executive for all but two of those years. He has been secretary treasurer for most of his 18 years with the Gympie sub-branch, and before that was a member of the Mary Valley sub-branch for 16 years, serving two as president.

A humbled and delighted Mr Stretton said yesterday he was very proud to receive the award and that things had "not really sunk in yet".

"Even with life membership you think 'one day I might get it' but you never really expect it," he said.

It has been seven years since Gympie last hosted the Annual District Congress of the Wide Bay and Burnett RSL.

Of the 42 sub-branches that make up the district, 32 attended last weekend's event, beating the existing record of 28.

Gympie Times


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