The local branches of the Royal British Legion, Torrevieja, the Orihuela Costa and La Marina/Gran Alacant in particular, have been busy raising funds for those ‘needy’ ex servicemen and their dependants since the beginning of the year. However their activities have increased dramatically in recent weeks as, together with branches across the world, they set out on their final fundraising ‘efforts’ of the year with the ‘Poppy Appeal’ here in District Spain (North).
This year the launch was carried out on 14 October in Benidorm by the city mayor, Snr Antonio Pérez Pérez, together with guests from the British Consulate as well as the Defence Attaché, Lt Col David Whimpenny, Chairman of the Legion Membership Council from London, regular attendees from the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, Arthur “Skippy” Teasdale and Wayne Campbell, looking marvellous in their scarlet coats, as well of course as many officials and members of The Royal British Legion and the public.
Since that time Gran Alacant/La Marina, Torrevieja and the Orihuela Costa have distributed poppies and collection boxes to over 550 bars, restaurants and other locations throughout the region. In addition, the three branches mobilised their ‘armies’ of volunteers who have also been active at Alicante airport, all of the local markets, many supermarkets and shops as well as dozens of other venues and collection outlets, and what an amazing amount of money has so far been raised.
In some branches a few of the poppy collection tins are still to be emptied and the monies counted, so the final figure for the District will not be released for some weeks, but we do know the totals for our three local branches, which have all concluded their collections and their counts.
Our northern most enclave in Gran Alacant/La Marina, despite being by far the smallest of the three, collected by far the highest amount per member, totalling almost 10,400 euro, an increase of 300 euro on 2015. Especial thanks to Iceland Supermarket.
In Torrevieja the total collected by Branch Members was euro 22,163.00, an increase of over euro 2.700 on the 2015 total. Again there must be special thanks to Iceland for allowing collectors to rattle tins in their store which raised 2800.00 Euros, and to the Crescendo International Choir which donated 2000.00 Euros to the appeal. This is a fantastic result reflecting all the hard work put into this year’s appeal by the branch’s Poppy People
On the Orihuela Costa the effort was organised By Eddie Coleman, where they too had yet another bumper year, largely due to the golfing fraternity and the magnificent efforts of Mick ‘the Grip’ Reeves and Mike Gossage who, once again, ran a series of ‘Poppy Golf’ tournaments.
In total, there were 40 events, which included two charity days during a fantastically busy two-month period. With that alone raising over 10,000 euro it was clear that the Branch was going to exceed last year’s totals by quite some way.
Lisa Perry, the manager of Iceland in San Javier, was most welcoming to branch collectors once again, the efforts from whom raised over 3,700 euro, and there was a further 4,000 euro raised at Alicante Airport by Orihuela Costa members.
Together with the annual fun day, St Patrick and St George’s days, as well, of course as the book stalls and many other activities carried out during the year, the branch raised euro 40,786, an increase of over 5,000 euro on 2015.
There were of course many other fundraisers carried out by all three branches during the course of the year, lots of which relied on the efforts of dozens of local entertainers and bands. They too must also be thanked for their enthusiasm and hard work, but one organisation that has been particularly supportive and loyal has been The Torrevieja Pipes and Drums. They seem to have featured at just about every single RBL event during the year with their efforts helping to achieve yet another magnificent total.
And testament to Gran Alacant & La Marina, Torrevieja and the Orihuela Costa, is that all of their fundraising activities have been carried out extremely professionally, with the minimum of fuss and with the maximum of effort and support from both within and without the branches. An amazing achievement. Well done to everyone involved in achieving a grand total of over 73,000 euro.