RSL sub-branch president John Kelsey calls it quits

JOHN Kelsey could not achieve much more as president of the Hervey Bay RSL sub-branch.

Under his reign the seaside sub-branch has gained an Anzac memorial nationally recognised for its striking statue and personalised memorial pavers.

Last year Hervey Bay was one of 20 regional cities across the nation to receive the revered Anzac flame; selected by the state RSL branches for being "the most proactive" sub-branch.

Mr Kelsey resigned as president in November last year due to "personal reasons".

Since then Brian Tidyman has acted as interim president before taking on the role formally last month.

Reflecting briefly on the past before looking to the future, Mr Tidyman said he had large shoes to fill.

"John did a fantastic job," Mr Tidyman said.

"But I've got a great committee and we're looking forward."

The new president pledged to continue projects positively identified by the sub-branch and former Citizen of the Year Nancy Bates.

"We'll continue pushing to develop the Fraser Coast military history trails," he said.

"Working with Nancy we want to build a PolyGram display at the Hervey Bay memorial in the future but that's a while off."

Mr Tidyman has a short time in which to get the projects going.

He is pledging to only be president for one two-year term so the sub-branch could undergo a generational change.

"Hopefully we can try and encourage the younger members to come in and put their hand up," Mr Tidyman said.

"Our core value is looking after veterans and their families."

Now enjoying a quieter role on the sub-branch, Mr Kelsey said he was able to look back fondly on his four-year tenure as president.

"Getting the statue done and the park done was a highlight," he said.

"I thought if I kept on going I wouldn't be able to top them."