New Garden remembers those who fell
The Orihuela Costa Branch of the Royal British Legion, BR3600, was first approved by the Board of Trustees from it’s headquarters in Pall Mall, London, on 18 January 2008. The Branch boundaries were set in place from Los Balcones, at the southern edge of Torrevieja, as it’s northern perimeter. The western boundary was formed by San Miguel de Salinas while the branch extended down to San Javier in the south.
The branch was formed when a number of members moved across from the existing Torrevieja Branch of the RBL and were supplemented by recruits from the newly approved remaining areas. Almost sixty members and potential members attended that inaugural meeting in the Olympia Restaurant, Mil Palmeras, at which the very first Branch Committee was elected.
Just three of the founder members from that first committee are still with the branch, Kevin Reardon, Colin Middleton and Eric MacDonald, two of whom still serve as local officers.
Since those first heady days, the branch has gone from strength to strength, raising over 50,000 euros for the Poppy Appeal and, under the current Chairmanship of Keith Carter, increasing it’s membership to almost 130 fully accredited members.
However one of the most important celebrations in the short history of the Orihuela Costa Branch took place only last Thursday evening, 18 August 2011, with the dedication service of the recently established International Garden of Remembrance, situated in the grounds of the Capilla de las Mil Palmeras in the diocese of Pilar de la Horadada.
After a short and moving introduction by Branch Chaplain, Keith Brown, the Branch Chairman, Keith Carter, invited the Chairman of RBL District North, Chris Wyatt, to formerly unveil the dedication plinth. There followed a reading by Branch President Kevin Reardon after which Keith Brown led a congregation of fifty or so members in a short prayer.
Keith explained that the Garden of Remembrance was dedicated to the memory of "all those who gave their lives in the cause of International Freedom.” He said that it was dedicated to soldiers and civilians of all nations and would be of great significance to all who used it in the future. It would also be the focal point of Remembrance Day celebrations in Orihuela Costa in years to come.
As the flanked the garden, all three standard bearers, Eddie Coleman, RBL Standard, Jim Haythorpe, Spanish flag and Graham Wharrad, Union flag, were resplendent in their appearance.
The garden came about a little under two years ago during which time it has gradually been developed and improved by members of the branch. Keith Carter and Vice Chairman Eddie Coleman have been largely instrumental in it’s enhancement, organising virtually all of the work and labour necessary to achieve it’s current situation. They were supported by many members of the branch, by local tradesmen and benefactors and at Thursday night’s ceremony the magnificent results were there for all to see.
The garden was built with the support and donations of the Costa Blanca Leader Newspaper, the Old Tower Lodge, the Queen Victoria Pub, the Hop Bar, Bar med, La Zenia Tool Hire, Call Net, Booker Garden services, Listers Bar, Spud Murphy’s, Marinasol Restaurant, Penny’s Supermarket, Butterfly’s Restaurant, Coffee del Mar, Imperial Pools, Vialis Restaurant, Bills Lounge Bar, Rocky’s, The Judges Chambers, Milans Restaurant, Sun Mar, Park and Fly, J&H Security, Tanatorio Virgen del Pilar.
Branch Committee: President Kevin Reardon, Chairman and Poppy Appeal Keith Carter, Vice Chair Eddie Coleman, Secretary Helen Lloyd, Treasurer Vincent McGough, Membership Phillip Spear, Social Cathy Carson, Chaplain Keith Brown, Welfare and Merchandising Colin Middleton, Webmaster Norman Scotting, Committee Jim Watt, Janet Spear and Jean Heald. Standard Bearers Edie Coleman, Jim Haythorpe and Graham Wharrad.
Branch meetings are held at the Olympia Restaurant, Mil Palmeras, on the third Thursday of every month at 7.30 pm. More info from Chairman Keith Carter by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 965 32 8897