The Annual Conference of The Royal British Legion, District North Spain, took place recently at the AC Hotel in Alicante.
The occasion comprised of two significant events, a one day seminar for Branch Chairmen and other Senior Officials, which was followed on the second day by the Annual Conference itself .
Other notable guests attending the event included Paul Harris QGM, Trustee and Vice Chairman of the RBL Membership Council, Bob Chambers the Overseas Representative, Kate Green the Overseas Area Manager and the British Vice-Consul Alicante, Sara Munsterhjelm who was particularly delighted to attend the event, she remarked, as the venue was only a 10 minute walk from her home.
Following opening welcomes and remarks from the Chairman, Don Cubbon, Day One focussed on presentations from the chair, welfare, finance and training, after which there were contributions from Paul Harris QGM, Bob Chambers and Kate Green. Attendees went away with lots of information to pass down to their branches
The following day saw the Annual Conference attended by over 40 Branch officers as well as the representatives from UK, Belgium and the British Vice Consul.
After introductions and welcomes Sara Munsterhjelm took to the floor where she spoke of the work undertaken by the Consulate, from Brexit to planning and communication, not only in support of residents and the effects of DANA, but to holidaymakers who had emergencies and problems of their own.
She confirmed the news on Brexit, approved by Royal Decree, regarding the rights of expats in Spain, health care, pensions and pension uprating, which are all guaranteed for those legally registered by the end of 2020. She also spoke about the transfer of UK driving licences, finally recommending that expats ensure that their UK Passports are kept in date.
She said that the Consulate is delighted to support the RBL in Spain and very much appreciates the valuable work carried out within the expat community.
The Chairman updated attendees on RBL membership and the new branch in Altiplano. He spoke of the 3 year plan, operational excellence and training courses as well as the need for more recruitment.
Welfare appealed for additional caseworkers, hospital, home visitors and telephone buddies advising that it had dealt with 350 needy cases and 200 incidents during the year.
Paul Harris, Trustee and member of the Membership council, spoke of worldwide membership and support to veterans, which is provided in 22 countries, involving 120,000 volunteers. He said that over 24,000 grants were awarded in 2019.
The District Poppy Appeal Coordinator, Andrew Richardson, announced the total collected in District North was 156.791.46€ and that the launch of the 2020 Poppy Appeal will take place in Benidorm on Friday 16th October 2020
Don Cubbon then announced the District awards. The Chairman’s Bugle, awarded to the Branch that has made the greatest advances in furthering the aims and objectives of the Legion was awarded to the Alicante Branch. It was collected by Chairman Jack Kemp.
The Recruiting Kukri, awarded to the Branch whose percentage membership has increased the most in the previous year, also went the way of Alicante and was received by Vice Chairman Ian Price.
“The Fallen Hero” Award, to the Branch with the highest percentage increase Poppy Appeal collection per member, was made to the Murcia Branch. A Chairman’s Certificate of Appreciation was then presented to Eddie Coleman of the Orihuela Costa and District Branch.