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Coming together to commemorate the Great War

Welcome to the Orihuela Costa and District Branch of The Royal British Legion

August 2014

2014 marks 100 years since the start of the First World War and throughout the centenary (1914-2018) there will be a programme of commemorative events taking place throughout the world, to honour and remember the lives of those who served in and were affected by the war.

Here on the Costa Blanca the most significant event in that programme took place on Sunday when over 100 members of the Royal British Legion came together with family, friends and members of the general public, in a period of reflection, a short service, which was held in the Orihuela Costa Branch Church, the Capilla de las Mil Palmeras.

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The service was conducted by the Orihuela Costa Branch President and Chaplain, Pastor Keith Brown, who, following a short prayer, processed into the church the Standards from Mojacar, Benidorm, Albox, the RNA, Royal Marines and RAFA as well as the Union and Spanish flags and the Standard of the local Branch. Guests from the local community included the Orihuela Costa Councillor for the Coast, Martina Scheurer and the Chairman of District (North) Nigel Hails.

There followed a number of poignant readings, hymns and even a carol, together with words spoken by members, which had been written during the conflict by an Infantry Captain at Gheluvelt, a Sergeant in the Somerset Light Infantry and by Rifleman WalterYoung of the London Regiment Post Office Rifles. Amongst all these, with hardly a dry eye in the house, there was a moving rendition of  the Les Miserables anthem ’Bring him home’ by local opera singer Paul Michael.

Musical accompaniment to the hymns was provided by Phillip Mitchell, pianist with the Orihuela Costa Male Voice Choir.

The Last Post and Reveille were played by Inge Sunde, a former bugler to the Norwegian Royal Household, after which everyone moved into the Garden of Remembrance where Poppy Crosses and Wreaths were laid in memory of the 16 million soldiers and civilians of all nations who lost their lives during the deadliest conflict in human history.

On a bright and sunny morning, the opportunity was also taken by many to remember their more recently departed family and friends in the garden and surrounds, which were presented in a spotless condition, testament to the hard work put in by Branch Vice Chairman Eddie Coleman and his team, which had spent the previous days cleaning and painting the whole area.

The opportunity was also used to unveil the memorial plaques of 3 former branch members who have died since the branch was first formed six years ago in 2008, Ruby Middleton, Mick Asbury and most recently George Faulkner, donations from whose funeral paid for the printing and production of the booklet used during the Service

The commemoration was then concluded with a ‘March Past’ from the church to the Olympia Restaurant, which was led by the Torrevieja Pipes and Drums, who, as always, paraded with great dignity and pride as they regularly do at many similar events.

Whilst there are no living veterans from the First World War still with us, it’s important that we commemorate the conflict because of the sheer scale of sacrifice which touched every city, town and village and had such a considerable impact on the development of Britain and the world today.

And if you feel that you too might want to remember the ultimate sacrifice made by those millions, it’s by no means too late, because this evening, Monday 4 August, on the actual 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of the war, everyone is invited to take part in ‘LightsOut’ by turning off their lights from 10pm to 11pm, leaving on a single light or candle for a shared moment of reflection.

However if you wish to pay your respects with an organized group you might consider going along to La Sahara Bar in CC La Fuente on Monday evening, where the lights will be dimmed, candles lit and letters from the Great War will be read out. And to top it all there will be a free finger buffet for all who attend.

The next big event for the Orihuela Costa branch will be the Summer BBQ taking place later this month on 21 August at the Olympia Restaurant, Mil Palmeras. Make sure you have a ticket as they are going very quickly (see page 17 for details).

The Orihuela Costa Branch of The Royal British Legion meets every 3rd Thursday of the month with a gathering time of 7pm for a 7.30pm start. The venue is the Olympia Restaurant, Mil Palmeras, and everyone is welcome, member or not. More information on the branch website at www.orihuelacostarbl.com

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