Two significant events were held in Alicante last week by The Royal British Legion, District North Spain, the Chairman’s Seminar, which brought together Senior Officers from over a dozen branches, and the District Annual Conference, where delegates and many other representatives attended along with Officers from the United Kingdom and Belgium as well as the British Vice Consul in Alicante.

Day one of the two day event focussed on presentations from the Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary which took up most of the early session.

There were also contributions to the discussions from Heather Wilson, Membership Support Officer and the Overseas Representative, Bob Chambers.

After lunch Peggy Wyatt spoke on Recruiting and Retention, Su Shaw on Training and Pamela Twissel-Cross on Community Support and Welfare.

All of the contributions were extremely enlightening and attendees went away far more knowledgeable and with lots of information to pass down on returning to their branches.

Standard Bearers with Parade Marshall
Standard Bearers with Parade Marshall

The following day saw the Annual Conference attended by 40 or more officers as well as the representatives from UK, Belgium and the British Vice Consul, Sara Munsterhjelm.

Following the welcome and opening address, the District Chairman, Don Cubbon, spoke of the welfare support provided in this part of Spain to potentially, 38,000 families. He spoke also about the importance of spreading the word and of making people aware of the RBL’s existence in Spain and of the role it can play in helping them in times of need.

The Chairman was followed onto the floor by the Community Support coordinator, Pamela Twissel-Cross who touched further on the welfare aspects provided by the RBL. 

Jean Chattey with Bob Chambers
Jean Chattey with Bob Chambers

Pam gave way to Robert Lee who had travelled out from Haigh House in London. Robert is the Assistant Director, Remembrance and National Events, the individual who puts together the Annual Remembrance Service broadcast to millions every November on the BBC, from the Royal Albert Hall in London.  

Robert spoke about the plans for 2019 and particularly the Khadi Poppy of which 2.5 million will be distributed in remembrance of India’s WW2 role. He mentioned the support provided to veterans and their families at the recent Invictus Games in Australia before briefing the room on the opening of the new £300m Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre which will be based at Stanford Hall, near Loughborough.

He then concluded by explaining how the RBL is increasingly providing support to the families of Commonwealth veterans who are living in poverty, particularly on the Indian sub-Continent.

British Vice Consul Sara Munsterhjelm
British Vice Consul Sara Munsterhjelm

Following a further presentation by British Vice Consul, Sara Munsterhjelm and a video of GP 90, where 1,150 branches and thousands of members and representatives from the UK and abroad help recreated the pilgrimage by WW1 veterans and war widows to the Menin Gate in Ypres on 8 August 1928, a number of awards were presented for meritorious and long service to Pamela Dawson Tasker, Jean Chattey and Robin Hargrave.

Robin also collected the Poppy Appeal Award on behalf of the Gran Alacant and La Marina Branch after which he then announced the total amount raised during the 2018 Poppy Appeal, 176,084 euros, an increase of 9,000 euro on the sum raised in 2017.

The meeting was concluded by the playing of the national anthems of the UK and Spain prior to the marching out of the District Standards.