The Jersey Boys were the headline act but it was The Royal British Legion that stole the show, as it celebrated 100 years of support to the military community on Saturday at the Emerald Isle in La Florida.
Formed on 15 May 1921 by a most unlikely couple, in former Lance Bombardier Fred Lister and Field Marshal Douglas Haigh, they had watched on as soldiers, many of whom had been invalided out, were sent back to Britain as ‘fit’ in appalling conditions, at the conclusion of WW1, such was the shortage of manpower.
They were also very concerned with the plight of the wives and children of those who had fallen.
Initially there were four organisations working for the interests of returning ex servicemen but, following a Unity Conference in London, Haigh was elected as President and Lister as Chairman of the newly formed RBL.
Since those early days the Legion has established a lasting commitment to fair treatment for service personnel, veterans and their families, and now boasts over 2000 branches across the globe.
The intention this year had always been to commemorate the centenary of the RBL with a number of big events, the foremost of which was to be a concert at the International Auditorium in Torrevieja, featuring major International performers. Unfortunately, however, the Covid pandemic put paid to that late last year, but not wishing the anniversary to go unmarked Stevie Spit then picked up the mantle, going on to engage the support of several of the region’s top acts.
And so they all came together last Saturday, at the Emerald Isle, La Florida, where, in front of over 300 people they each provided their services, absolutely free of charge.
Event organiser Stevie Spit and the fabulous Jersey Boys were joined by Leroy Morales, Melissa Fanning, The Crazy Ladies, Funky Blinders, Belinda Bingo and Footwork Dance, in an afternoon of wonderful entertainment, and although the purpose of the event was not specifically to raise money, with the arrival of Nanny McPhee, all that soon changed as she set about her exploits as a fundraiser extraordinaire.
By the end of the afternoon her efforts had raised over 1300 euro for the RBL Poppy Appeal, all of which will be used to support veterans and their families here in Spain.
Our thanks of course to the Emerald Isle and their hard working and efficient staff, to all the entertainers who gave of their time for free, to Jean Heald, Eddie Coleman and Janice Poole who manned the RBL stalls, and especially to Stevie Spit and Nanny McPhee who both went above and beyond to make the afternoon such an extraordinary success.