Welcome to the Orihuela Costa and District Branch of The Royal British Legion
KEEPING THE MEMORIES ALIVE
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, in 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 to pay their respects.
The Service was attended by many representatives and councillors of the main towns covered by the Orihuela Costa Branch of the Royal British Legion, including the mayors of Pilar de La Horadada and Orihuela, Don Ignacio Ramos and Donna Monica Lorente. Representing the British Government was the Alicante Consul, Paul Rodwell.
The church in Mil Palmeras was filled to bursting point, with over a hundred attendees seated outside, as veterans, their families and guests all paid their respects to mark Remembrance Day for their fallen comrades.
Following bugler Tony Murray’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 minute's silence with the congregation using the 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 Cathy Carson led the congregation in the hymns. The music was provided by the magnificent Phoenix Concert Band conducted by Ian Vine
With the Orihuela Costa Standard in London, where it had represented Spain at the previous evening’s celebrations in the Royal Albert Hall, the procession was led by the Spanish National and the Union flags followed by the standards of the Royal British Legion Torrevieja as well as those representing the RNA, RMA and RAAFA all proudly borne to both honour and to represent those who gave their lives.
Poppies were worn as a reminder to the new generations that inevitably face new conflicts.
Prior to the start of the service the standards were escorted to the chapel by the very fine Torrevieja Pipes and Drums as they played a medley of tunes to set the occasion. Piper Donny MacDiarmid played the lament during the service.
Following the service the congregation was led out of the church for the laying of wreaths and poppy crosses which, for the first time, was able to use the newly established ‘Garden of Remembrance’ built in the church grounds during the preceding weeks by members of the local branch. All the guests took part with the Branch President, other local military associations and each of the mayors and guests laying wreaths and crosses of their own.
For members of the host nation this was their own time to reflect on their own grief suffered during the Spanish Civil War, as the victims of terrorism and for their own fallen comrades fighting alongside British and other allied troops in Afghanistan. In this way the ceremony brought together the common sentiments of all those present to share pride in restoring freedoms.
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 once again from the Phoenix Concert Band under the baton of Ian Vine.
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.