Last march for Uki RSL diggers

THE traditional Anzac Day dawn service in the tiny village of Uki will be charged with extra emotion this year because it will also herald the demise of the town's RSL sub-branch, believed to be the Tweed's oldest.

The Uki sub-branch's thinning ranks are being blamed for its disbandment when the bugler sounds the Last Post, ending a proud 80-year-old tradition. Uki will become a chapter of the much-larger Murwillumbah sub-branch, but members are optimistic that it could be revived in the future as the village's population continues to swell.

Murwillumbah RSL sub-branch president Derek Sims said yesterday it would be a sad day for the 17-odd remaining members of the sub-branch when they perform their last dawn service as an historical entity.

"While it's obviously very disappointing for all involved we are hopeful that it may just be a temporary set-back," said Mr Sims. He said the sub-branch was formed in 1920 and was believed to be the oldest of any throughout Tweed shire.

But in recent years the sub-branch committee had been%struggling to achieve the statutory quorum of five members needed to make vital decisions.

The committee voted last Sunday to disband the sub-branch but to retain a small committee which could eventually revive the sub-branch if potential members showed interest.

Long-standing committee member Bob Dow said it was likely that a many of the tree-changers moving to Uki would include former servicemen who may be interested in helping to reform the sub-branch.

He said the town itself had four sons currently serving with Australian forces in Iraq.

The committee would also be responsible for ensuring that traditional Anzac and Remembrance Day ceremonies still continued in the village, and that its long-standing links with the local primary school were retained.

The local hall trust has agreed to provide space in the hall to house the sub-branch's historic military memorabilia and records.

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