Ride to save RSL

Pictured at the RSL''s museum (l-r) are Beth Quilty, Jacqui Day, Annie Ashton and Barbara Graham. 172047_02 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Peter Douglas

A bunch of big-hearted bikies are set to descend on the Upwey-Belgrave RSL on Sunday 4 February to raise much-needed funds.
New RSL member Roger Hensman kick-started the weekend ride, which will begin from the Ferntree Gully Hotel, before winding up and to the much-loved RSL, where the participants will enjoy a delicious lunch.
Upwey-Belgrave RSL stalwart Beth Quilty said between 40 to 60 bikies were expected to hit the road.
“The bikies seem to love the war memorabilia here, so they’ll get their photo taken with the tank and they enjoy that kind of thing. It’ll be a great day,” she said.
“Anything we can do to raise the awareness of the RSL is a good thing. It’s phenomenal how many people come in and say ‘we didn’t know you were here’.”
The lunch event will also feature live music in the afternoon, provided by local band Now and Then.
There will also be raffles and other fundraising events.
Ms Quilty said Mr Hensman has been heavily involved with helping homeless veterans, as well as veterans in the region.
He became a member of the Upwey-Belgrave RSL after hearing about their plight.
Ms Quilty said the RSL was still suffering from its well-documented struggles, which stemmed from a fraud case involving their former treasurer.
The RSL has fought back in recent times and found a way to keep open its doors.
However, Ms Quilty said ongoing, sustained interest in the RSL had eluded them.
“Whenever the ‘Mail’ publishes a story, we get great numbers in here for the next week. But it’s the weeks after that are difficult,” she said.
“So events like this bike ride are really important, to get numbers in here.”