Welcome to the Orihuela Costa and District Branch of The Royal British Legion
LEST WE FORGET
Remembrance Sunday is the day traditionally put aside by the British Community to remember all those who have given their lives for the peace and the freedom that we enjoy today. On this day people across the region pause to reflect on the sacrifices made by the millions of brave Service men and women.
Within the Orihuela Costa those sacrifices were remembered yesterday with a unique celebration of homage, a service held at the Capilla de las Mil Palmeras in the diocese of Pilar de la Horadada, and it was not only members of the Expatriate Community who came out in force.
The Service was attended by many representatives of the three main towns covered by the Orihuela Costa Branch of the Royal British Legion including the mayor of Pilar de La Horadada, Don Ignacio Ramos, and a representative from Orihuela Ayuntamiento, Stefa Pokroppa, each bringing with them a sizeable delegation.
Representation was also provided by the British Government in the form of the Assistant Consul from Alicante, Elizabeth Bell, whilst Squadron Leader Richard Waggitt, currently attending Spanish Staff College in Madrid, represented the British Military.
The church in Mil Palmeras was filled inside and out with veterans, their families and guests as they all paid their respects to mark Remembrance Day for their fallen comrades. Following bugler Baz Starbuck's performance of the mournful Last Post, which echoed out of the church and around the park, everyone was united, standing shoulder to shoulder for the one minute's silence.
As I looked around the gathered congregation there was more than the occasional tear as members of the congregation used this time to reflect on those friends, family and colleagues who had suffered or died in conflict in the service of their nation.
Keith Brown officiated at the service while, as well as providing a solo, Cathy Carson led the congregation in the hymns. The organist was Beth Kerr.
Led by the Spanish National and the Union flags the standards of the collected military associations were borne proudly to represent those who gave their lives, whilst poppies were worn as a reminder to new generations that inevitably face new conflicts. The start of the service had seen them piped into the chapel by Pipe Major John Simpson and the Torrevieja Pipes and Drums as they played a medley of tunes.
Following the service the congregation was led out of the church to the Garden of Remembrance for the laying of wreaths and the poppy crosses. All the guests took part with the Branch Chairman, other local military associations and each of the mayors and guests laying wreaths of their own.
For members of the host nation this was tied in to the grief many of them suffered during the Spanish Civil War and as the victims of terrorism. In this way the ceremony brought together the common sentiments of all those present to share pride in restoring freedoms. The wreaths were laid to the accompaniment of the Torrevieja Pipes and drums with 'Heroes of Kohima'.
There were generous donations to the Poppy Appeal enabling the Royal British Legion locally to provide continued welfare assistance for ex-service men and women and their dependants living here in Spain. Following the ceremony members and their guests retired to the Olympia Restaurant for drinks and lunch which was accompanied by music from the Alpengold Band under the directorship of Baz Starbuck.
The National Service of Remembrance, held simultaneously at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, was originally conceived as a commemoration of the war dead of the First World War but after the Second World War the scope of the ceremony was extended to focus on the nation's dead of both World Wars, and in 1980 it was widened once again to extend the remembrance to all who have suffered and died in conflict in the service of their country and all those who mourn them.
The Orihuela Costa Branch of the Royal British Legion was only formed in February of this year so the service in Mil Palmeras was the very first held in the district. The Torrevieja Branch hold their Remembrance service tomorrow (Tuesday) at the La Siesta Parish Church.