The National Director of Membership, Emma Cannings, was in Benidorm last week to attend the 2018 Annual Conference of the Royal British Legion Spain, District North, and to present awards to branches from the Hondón Valley and the Orihuela Costa.
The Hondón Valley branch received the annual Recruiting and Retention award while the Branch Poppy Award went to the Orihuela Costa.
Emma outlined the positive steps being taken by the RBL in the areas of recruitment and membership renewals. She spoke of governance and of the RBL structure after which she explained how the organisation is working toward simplifying many of its rules and procedures.
The meeting itself largely covered reports and forward planning during which Chairman Don Cubbon spoke of his delight at the launch of a new branch in Murcia, the new District magazine and the imminent introduction of a Facebook page, which will cover the whole of the District area.
The District Community Support Officer, Pamela Twissel Cross, introduced Billie Graham-Thomas, who had been medically discharged from the Royal Navy, and who was now a beneficiary of the RBL Welfare system. Billie spoke of how her life had been changed by the assistance she had received from the Legion whilst living in Spain.
Pamela then presented a short video showing further examples of the support that the District has been able to provide to local beneficiaries. Over 200 reported cases had received visits from her volunteer caseworkers during the previous year.
Alicante’s British Vice Consul, Sara Munsterhjelm, addressed the conference. She spoke of the importance of the RBL in providing the Consulate with a link to the expat community. She then gave a BREXIT update covering healthcare, pensions, voting in local elections and onward movement within the EU.
The Poppy Appeal Organiser, Robin Hargrave, announce the total achieved by the 2017 Appeal was 169,622 euro, an increase of 2.65% on the previous year. He thanked the many individual and branch poppy appeal organisers who had worked so hard to ensure such an encouraging result.
The election of new committee members saw Ken Matthews, Susan Shaw, Christine Walden, Eddie Coleman and Kevin Reardon elected to the District committee.
Following the reaffirmation of the District Standard, a welcome to the new vice chairman, Lt Col (Retd) Nick Keen, the national anthems of the UK and Spain were played prior to the marching out of the District Standards.