The launch of the RBL, Spain District North, Poppy Appeal took place in Benidorm on Friday in warm sunshine and also in the presence of the hundreds of holidaymakers, veterans and residents who packed the Levante promenade.
The event was supported by members of the Royal British Legion from 15 branches across the region as well as by the Mayor of Benidorm, Tony Perez.
Snr Perez joined in the annual march along the seafront, together with the Chairman of the District RBL, Don Cubbon, British Consul Sarah-Jane Morris, Edward Dunn, Head of Campaigns at the British Embassy and navy reservist, and Ms Kate Green, Overseas Team Lead of the RBL Worldwide.
It was led by the Torrevieja Pipes and Drums who were followed by a dozen or more standards and approximately two hundred proud veterans of all nationalities and services including many members of the RNA, RAAFA and RMA.
Once again, making their umpteenth appearance at the launch, having travelled from the Royal Hospital to be there especially, were Chelsea In-Pensioners Wayne Campbell and Skippy Teasdale who were escorted along the seafront by Father Don Witts, of the Costa Blanca Anglican Chaplaincy.
It was yet another event that made the participants feel very proud to be British, stepping out along the front to the rousing sound of the pipes, something not too often seen in the popular resort, but a sight that was enthusiastically applauded by the many spectators lining the route.
District Chairman Don Cubbon thanked the city of Benidorm for the war reception and welcome that it always provides to the Royal British Legion. He spoke of the hard work that his members had carried out over the previous year in which the Poppy Appeal raised over €176,000
He also emphasised that ALL of the money is used to help ex-servicemen and their dependants in their time of need here in Spain, mentioning just a few of the measures on which it was spent last year including furniture, stair lifts and the purchase of mobility scooters for those finding it difficult to walk.
The Mayor of Benidorm, Tony Perez, welcomed all participants as he took the rostrum. He said how delighted he was to host the Launch of the Poppy Appeal once again, highlighting the many benefits it brings to the area and how it adds to the multicultural and multinational make-up of the city.
He said that the expatriate community was a very important part of the city of Benidorm and he was honoured and delighted to call many of them his friends.
The mayor was then presented with a Certificate of Appreciation by Don Cubbon, on behalf of the RBL in Spain. Mr Cubbon said that it was given in heartfelt thanks for the support and encouragement that the Ayuntamiento and the people of Benidorm provide to enable the launch of the Appeal to take place in such convivial surroundings.
In reply the mayor said that the Royal British Legion “is a role model” and that it can always count on the support and encouragement of the Benidorm council.
Short speeches followed from Sarah Jane Morris, Edward Dunn and Ms Kate Green who all said how much of an honour it was to be involved in the event.
Kate Green spoke about the support that the RBL provides to many of its veterans in Spain and how important a part it now plays in the structure of the Spanish Social and Welfare system.
The launch ended with rapturous applause as the Standard Bears and the Pipes and Drums marched past the VIP guests before hordes of spectators, both English and Spanish, descended on Skippy and Wayne to pose for photographs, both of whom were absolutely delighted to oblige.
In District North, the RBL Poppy Appeal is aiming to exceed the 2018 total of 176,000 euro, monies that will enable the Legion to continue its vital work in delivering life-long support to Service and ex-Service personnel and their families here in Spain, through hardships, injuries and bereavements.
Every euro received in Spain will be used in Spain where it will make a real difference, not only to the lives of Service men and women and veterans that live amongst us, but to their families as well, who can also experience difficulties dealing with the circumstances of a loved one who is serving or who has served.
So make your donation and wear your poppy with pride in the knowledge that you will be supporting your past and present Armed Forces community.