VICE CONSUL LEADS ORIHUELA COSTA REMEMBRANCE SERVICE
Once again, for the 8th successive year, over 400 people gathered at the Capilla de las Mil Palmeras, to remember the fallen military, comrades, family and friends, as poppy-filled wreaths were laid at the base of the cross standing in the memorial garden.
Seven-deep crowds surrounded the monument at the ceremony which immediately followed the annual Remembrance Church Service, attended yet again by a record breaking congregation. The service had been conducted in this picturesque village church in the diocese of Pilar de la Horadada, by the Rev Terry Baxter.
During the service there were readings by Branch Members Walter Shatford and Michael Reeves as well as a magnificent rendition of ‘We will remember them’ by Elise MacGregor and Janelle. The pair were accompanied on guitar by Alex Scott.
The music for the service was once again provided by the wonderful Phoenix Concert Band under the very professional direction of MD, Julie Schofield.
Exactly on the 11th hour, following a performance of the Last Post, by Derek Hayes and the soulful lament ‘Flowers of the forest’ played by Tony Dolpin, and written in 1513, everyone was united, standing shoulder to shoulder, for the two minute's silence, a time for all to reflect on the memories of friends, family and colleagues who had suffered or died in conflict, in the service of their many nations.
But 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 Branch, including a large contingent led by the mayor of Pilar de la Horadada, Ignacio Ramos. He was accompanied by Orihuela’s Councillor for Foreign Residents, Sofia Alvarez, Guardia Civil Office Francisco Morales, who is the mastermind behind the N332 Traffic Website, the President of The Royal British Legion, Spain District North, Lloyd Milen and Nigel Hails.
Flanked by many members of the general public the final act saw the Pipes and Drums parade from the church to the grounds of the Olympia Restaurant, followed by the Spanish National and the Union flags, the standards of the assembled Military Associations and over two hundred members of the congregation. All were wearing poppies as a reminder to new generations, as they continue to face up to new conflicts. The group marched proudly past the assembled dignitaries, prior to enjoying a delightful and well-earned buffet lunch in the Olympia Restaurant.
Only two weeks earlier members of the Orihuela Costa Branch had attended a Joint Remembrance Service in Viator, Almeria, with La Brigada de La Legión, the Spanish Foreign Legion, where the war dead of both countries were honoured, prior to the unit deploying to Lebanon as part of a United Nations Peacekeeping Mission.
The National Service of Remembrance, also held yesterday 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.
Of course Remembrance is not just about those who fought in the last two World Wars, but it is also held in respect of those involved in the many other conflicts worldwide and those who are still fighting for peace and freedom even now. It is also about all of us learning from the past and resolving to make the world a better place in which to live in the future.
Following the laying of the wreaths Vice-Consul Lloyd Milen said he felt privileged both to attend the service and to be asked to lay a poppy garland on behalf of the British Government.
Keith Carter, chairman of the Orihuela Costa Branch of the Royal British Legion, said the event was yet another great success and it was especially pleasing to see so many local residents, of all nationalities, coming out to show their support. He said "It has been a truly wonderful day."
Following the service in Mil Palmeras there was a further dedication in Campoverde Village Church and a Poppy Appeal Concert featuring the area's massed choirs, and organised by Nigel Hopkins, at the Cristo Recusitado Temple in La Regia.
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