The Legion Introduces Its New District Chaplain

Father Ray Benidorm 1

The Royal British Legion, District North are delighted to announce the appointment of a new District Chaplain.  Father Ray Andrews has recently taken over the role from the Reverend Terence Samson.  The Legion wish Terence and his wife all the very best for the future.

Father Ray was born in Greenwich, London and spent a good deal of time there, living briefly in Spain and Southern Africa. His first career was in Mental Health where he qualified as a psychiatric social worker and worked as a practitioner and educator for many years. Father Ray trained as a psychotherapist, specialising in addiction and still practices today at a clinic in Alicante.

Following a couple of years in a monastic community in Oxford, Father Ray returned to London to study theology and was ordained to the priesthood. His ordained ministry was always in the diocese of Southwark with parishes in Dulwich and Central London. His last London parish was St George the Martyr in Southwark, where he was parish priest to the Head Office of The Royal British Legion in Borough High Street.

Father Ray came to live in Spain in 2015, taking the position of Chaplain in the Costa Blanca Chaplaincy.

Father Ray said “I was delighted and honoured to be asked to serve as Chaplain for the District North of The RBL here in Spain, particularly given my association with the organisation in London. I look forward to this happy association”.





A few months ago, following the attendance at a Hondón Valley Branch meeting by Sgt (Dai) Williams RAF, a seed was sown to try and organise a visit to the Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) based at Los Llanos Military Airbase, Albacete.

TLP delivers training courses for NATO pilots and support personnel. During these courses, they hold open days exclusively for course participants. It was decided that a visit during one of these open days would be an enjoyable and rare opportunity for TRBL members to engage with military personnel and aircraft from many different nations.  Following a confirmatory trip and some intense planning and organisation, Hondón Valley Branch members headed north to Albacete on Thursday 17th November.

With a full coach of rather exited aviation fans, we were met and very professionally hosted all day by Sgt Williams.  After a hot beverage in the Airman’s canteen, we were given a guided tour of the Students’ accommodation, recreation areas and facilities.

A rather filling 3 course lunch then followed in the air base restaurant.

The TLP Commandant, Colonel Luis Villar Coloma and Suboficial mayor (WO) Zaranton formally welcomed the Group to Los Llanos Airbase and the TLP Facilities.  In return Nigel Hails, District Chairman, thanked them for their co-operation and assistance in enabling the visit to go ahead.

The next activity was an important safety briefing before being ‘Let Loose ‘ onto the Runway/ Flight line for 2 hours.

The Branch members were spellbound by the informality and closeness you could achieve with 35 different NATO Fighter aircraft.  Pilots and ground crew were on site to give guided tours of their respective jets, answer any questions and help visitors into the cockpits for the amazing photograph opportunities.

During the Flight line visit Cpl Simmons, (RAF) very kindly donated the unit’s Poppy Appeal contributions to the Branch.  The photograph opportunity for this event was taken in front of a Royal Air Force Hawk Jet.

The Branch would like to extend a massive thank –you to the TLP Commandant and his team based at Los Llanos.

The November weather was perfect. The sun shone in blue skies and Branch members will remember the visit for a long time.

 Poppy Appeal Contribution (1)

Launch of the 2016 Poppy Appeal.

The Launch of the Poppy Appeal for 2016 took place in Benidorm on Friday 14th October.  Once again the sun shone and holiday makers enjoying time on the beach, came to see what was happening.  The Parade was led by the Torrevieja Pipes and Drums followed by Branch Standards and those of other military organisations.  Also taking part were the Benidorm Alcalde, Snr Antonio Pérez Pérez, guests from the British Consulate as well as the Defence Attaché, members of The Royal British Legion followed by members of the public. Lt Col David Whimpenny, from London, Chairman of the Legion Membership Council was delighted to have attended.  Regular attendees from the Royal Hospital, Chelsea were Arthur “Skippy” Teasdale and Wayne Campbell looking marvellous in their scarlet coats.

The Parade finished at the dias in the Rincon de Loix where various speeches took place. Mr Nigel Hails, Chairman of District North, welcomed everyone and thanked the Alcalde and the Benidorm Ayuntamiento for their support and tremendous assistance, without which it would not have been possible to arrange this event. Mr Hails presented Snr Pérez Pérez with a Certificate of Special Recognition.

Mr Hails remarked on the splendid total raised last year of over 171,000€ and thanked the public for their most generous support.  He also spoke of the various ways the Legion helps beneficiaries here in Spain.

The Alcalde welcomed everyone and said how delighted he was that Benidorm had again been chosen to host the Launch and talked of Benidorm being a multi national city.

As the Standard Bearers marched off at the end of the ceremony, appreciation was shown with rapturous applause.

Chelsea Pensioners 1

Chelsea Pensioners “Skippy” and Wayne talking to Defence Attaché, Captain Paul Lemkes, RN,  Sgt Michelle Kadshaw RAF, and Sandra Ward.

For further photos, please click here



Please come and join us in Benidorm on 14th October for the official Launch of the Poppy Appeal in District North Spain.  Further information from



The Legion raises a glass to the Queen

 Gandia 1

Members of the Gandia and District Branch


Members of The Royal British Legion – Spain District North - met at El Cisne, Alfaz del Pi, near Benidorm, for the annual Summer Lunch on Friday 17th June.  It attracted over 100 members and guests from six local Branches including a coach of members arriving from the Hondón Valley Branch.  The delicious lunch included spit roast chicken, gammon and a great variety of salads, followed by mouth watering desserts and cheese and crackers.  The meal was served by Tina of Aulsberry’s Catering Service and her helpers.

Following the meal members danced to music performed by Mickey Lewys. The event was a great opportunity to meet those from other Branches in a friendly atmosphere. The day finished with the Loyal toast to the Queen on the occasion of her 90th Birthday.

The bumper raffle with some super prizes raised over 570€ for the Poppy Appeal.

For any welfare enquiries the number to ring is  676 451 780 or email  Details of the various Branches in the area are on our website or you can email us on  Come along to one of our meetings or events and meet new friends and enjoy an active social life.



Plans are underway to open a new Branch in Murcia in an area covered by Caravaca de la Cruz, Calaspara, Cehegin and Bullas. 

Anyone wanting information is asked to email or ring  648 860 251



Poppy Total 2015 1


Those living in District North Spain, whatever nationality, have once again been extremely generous and when the final total for The Poppy Appeal 2015 was revealed last Friday, it was an amazing

Those living in District North Spain, whatever nationality, have once again been extremely generous and when the final total for The Poppy Appeal was revealed last Friday, it was an amazing 171,543.43€.  This is a great result in view of the difficult economic time in which we live.

Our grateful thanks goes to all the Branch members and friends, local businesses, Churches, Consulates and Embassies, as well as clubs and individuals who have contributed to this amount. 

At the Annual Conference on 29th January awards were presented, including Recruiting Award to Pinoso Branch, Poppy Award (for the highest amount per members raised for the Appeal) going to Gran Alacant and La Marina Branch for their efforts of in excess of 345€ per members - a truly amazing amount.  Welfare caseworker scrolls went to two members of Orihuela Costa and District Branch for their work over and above what would normally be expected.

In the coming months the work of the Legion in Spain, as well as how the money is spent, will be included in press articles.

Our photo shows Robin Hargrave, the District Poppy Appeal Co-ordinator revealing the amount raised. -Further photos will be added shortly Photos kind courtesy of David Stokes



La Marina Group 2


The Royal British Legion held an Open Day at The Posh Club in La Marina on 10th November.  The aim of the day was to reach out to and inform British residents and visitors in the area of The Legion and its local Branch of Gran Alacant and La Marina which covers Gran Alacant, La Marina, Santa Pola, Guardamar and inland to Dolores.  The event was very well attended with many new members coming forward and our Welfare Coordinator, Pam, was kept busy dealing with Welfare enquiries.

A Legion spokesperson said “We were delighted with the number attending this local event which gave us the opportunity to talk to a lot of people.  Those who came in from other areas were given details of their local Legion Branches.  The Posh Club was an ideal venue for this event and our thanks go to the manager, Peter, for his support and assistance with the day.”
 “The Legion is involved with a great many different areas including campaigning and lobbying the Government, including the Insult to Injury Campaign (Veterans injured during Service can lose most of their compensation to cover the cost of their social care) and helping those military veterans suffering from Asbestos cancer. (who can be left thousands of pounds worse off than their civilian contemporaries). We are also the custodians of Remembrance, which will have been seen from the many ceremonies taking place around the 11th November. The Legion’s website show all the different facets of Legion work –

“The Legion welcomes anyone to become members – they do not need to have an Armed Forces connection”


 Viator - Wednesday 21st October 2015

Viator 4 334X265

Joint Remembrance. The Royal British Legion & La Bridgada de la Legion

A very unique ceremony took place at the Military Base in Viator, Almeria on 21st October, hosted by La Brigada de la Legion.

150 members from several Branches within District North Spain were able to accept the invitation to participate in the joint Parade and Remembrance Service to honour the fallen of  both nations and to cement a relationship between  an active  Spanish Brigade and The Royal British Legion.

On the parade itself the Spanish Legion was represented by the war Band, the Music Unit, a sappers Squad and an Honour Guard comprising the Colonel of the Third Legion regiment, the Colonel of the Base Support Unit, all the Lt. Colonels commanding Legion units and their subordinate Officers and NCO’s.

Having taken their places on the parade square they were joined by the RBL Standard Bearers who marched on carrying their Standards under the direction of the Parade Marshal Neil Pavitt.

The Chairman of District North Spain Nigel Hails made a short speech paying tribute to those who answered the call of duty and selflessly gave their all in order that future generations may enjoy peace, security and freedom. The General de Brigada Excmo. Sr.D Juan Jesus Martin Cabrero, Commandante en Jefe de la Brigada de la Legion “Rey Alfonso X111” responded thanking Members for attending and praised the work of the Royal British Legion .

Following the National Anthems of both nations, the Last Post and Reveille the General and the RBL Chairman each laid a wreath as they both paid tribute to the fallen.


Visit to Brigada de la Legion, Viator, Almeria

Group At Viator

Following an invitation from the Comandante of the Brigada de la Legion España, the Chairman of the Royal British Legion in Spain, Mr. Nigel Hails together with the Parade Marshal, Mr Neil Pavitt and the District Administrator, Mr Christopher Wyatt travelled to Viator in the province of Almeria where the Legion is based.

They were there to co-ordinate a joint Parade and Remembrance Service which had been mooted, not only to honour of the war dead of both countries but also to foster a deeper understanding and a cementing of relationships between an active service Spanish Brigade and The Royal British Legion’s mission, values and objectives as presented by its members in Spain.

The Royal British Legion representatives were shown every courtesy during their visit, which included a planning meeting for the joint Parade and Service on Wednesday 21st October, a visit to the fascinating Brigade Regimental Museum and conversations with various Officers of the Legion España and were encouraged by the obvious desire expressed by the Comandante for the need for closer co-operation and friendship with those from other countries who have made their home in Spain.

Pictured l-r   Nigel Hails, District North Chairman,  Comandante D. Alfonso Pedro Ruiz de Oña, Christopher Wyatt, District Administrator and Neil Pavitt, Parade Marshal.




Poppylaunch 15 1

The Poppy Appeal Launch took place in Benidorm in beautiful sunshine on 15th October. The Standards of the Branches within District North Spain were paraded accompanied by the Torrevieja Pipes and Drums. Two Chelsea Pensioners flew over especially for the event and they took part in the parade to the applause of the hundreds of onlookers. The President of the District Lloyd Milen who is the Vice Consul in Alicante gave an address providing some interesting facts. Sara-Jane Morris the Consul was also present. Speeches were made by Nigel Hails the Chairman of the District and Mr Robin Hargrave The Poppy Appeal Co-ordinator who encouraged people to give generously again this year and exceed last Year’s record total Of €188,000 euros . It was a splendid event.

We thank David Stokes for his help with the photos.  For more, please click here



 The Royal British Legion in District North of Spain are delighted to announce the appointment of Lloyd Milen, British Vice Consul in Alicante as their new President. The ceremony took place at Cuidad Patricia, Benidorm recently when Lloyd was presented with his “chain” and Legion badge.  Lloyd said he was looking forward to his new role.  The British Consulate already work closely with the Legion dealing with those British residents who may need Legion help and support.

Nigel Hails, District Chairman, remarked he was pleased to be working more closely with Lloyd in the future.

The District area covered by our Welfare Co-ordinator, runs from the French border to Baza in Granada Province and anyone wanting information should ring 676 451 780 (weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) For general information, please ring 648 860 251 (weekdays).



Poppy Appeal Total 2014 Robin Hargrave - District Poppy Appeal Co-ordinator

Nigel Hails And Chris Wyatt 1

Nigel Hails, District Chairman and Chris Wyatt retiring District Secretary


Nigel Hails, District Chairman and Keith Carter, Chairman of Orihuela Costa and District Branch 

On Friday 30th January, the District North of The Royal British Legion in Spain held its annual conference at the NH Hotel in Alicante.

Unfortunately the main guest speaker, TRBL National Vice-Chairman, Mr Terry Whittles, was snowbound in Manchester and was unable to attend, much to the disappointment of the delegates.

During the Conference, the fantastic Poppy Appeal collection total was revealed, an astonishing 188.324,80€!  This is a 15.000€ increase on the previous year.  Many congratulations to all those who worked so hard to bring this about and especially to those who contributed so much to this great charity.

The Chairman of Orihuela and District Branch, Mr Keith Carter, came forward to be presented with the District Recruitment and Retention award for increased membership over the past 3 years.  Before he could sit down however, the Chairman of District, Mr Nigel Hails then surprised him with a District Certificate of Appreciation for his work as District Parade Marshal over the past 3 years.

The most prestigious award of the day however went to Mr Chris Wyatt, retiring District Secretary.  He was presented with one of the highest honours of The Royal British Legion, the Legion Gold Badge awarded for his dedicated service to the Legion in Spain over the past 10 years.  This Gold Badge is the first to be awarded to any member in District North since the Legion in Spain became a legal part of TRBL, UK in October 2010.  When the Chairman read the accompanying citation, it was obvious that this award was very well deserved.

During the past year we received a number of welfare enquiries and our busy welfare caseworkers once again volunteered to visit beneficiaries in the area.

Photos were taken by David Stokes and to see more photos, please email the District Public Relations Officer - ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




 Dedication of new District Standard


Group With Standard 2

24th September at Mil Palmeras Church, Pilar de la Horadada, Costa Blanca

The  New Standard was presented as a gift to the District by the Chairman, Chris Wyatt and his wife Peggy.

Chris said “The District deserves a Standard to parade at the many events.  Part of the Maurice Cup Award was the presentation of a scroll which is permanently displayed on the new Standard. The District Standard Bearer is Keith Carter, the District Ceremonial Officer and Chairman of Orihuela Costa Branch.  He and his team were instrumental in organising the Service last Tuesday and my thanks goes to all those who took part.  Our District Chaplain, the Reverend Canon Terence Sampson once again “did us proud” and the spectacle of the various Standards and the Torrevieja Pipes and Drums parading is always a thrill.  Our thanks also goes to the various Branch Standard bearers and to the members of the Phoenix  Concert Band who accompanied the congregational hymns and to Rocky’s Bar who very kindly sponsored the printing of the Order of Service. “ (More photos shortly)

l-r Keith Carter, District Ceremonial Officer and District Standard Bearer, Barry Waddington, Torrevieja Pipes and Drums, Julie Schofield, Phoenix Concert Band, Chris Wyatt, Chairman, Peggy Wyatt, Reverend Canon Terence Sampson, District Chaplain.

 District Awarded the Maurice Cup

 Maurice Cup May 2013 2

The Maurice Cup is presented to the County/District which has shown the most improvement in the previous year in a number of categories.  The award is testament to the hard work by all our 18 Branches and members of the District Committee.  The District is now established as a fully legal British Charity and registered in Madrid.
We were up against strong opposition from Counties and Districts in the UK and abroad which makes the receiving of this splendid cup even more special. The photo shows Chris receiving the award from the National President Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson CB CVO at the Annual Conference in Llandudno in May.


 Benidorm Ayuntamiento presents award to The Royal British Legion in Spain.

 European Day1

9th May is European Day and The RBL in Spain was the only British charity to be presented with this special award “Distinción Europea” (which is awarded to people and entities that have formed strong relations with the town).  Chris Wyatt says he was delighted to accept this award. Paul Rodwell, the District President and British Consul received an award on behalf of the British Embassy.  In his response (in Spanish), Chris acknowledged the other International Charities who also received credit for their work locally.  He also paid tribute to members of  Benidorm and District Branch who have worked so hard to re-establish the Branch and forge links with the Benidorm Ayuntamiento as well as local charities and organisations.

l-r Chris Wyatt, District Chairman, Paul Rodwell, British Consul, Alicante and District President and Alcalde of Benidorm, Snr Agustin Navarro.

(Further photos will be added shortly)


About The Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion is the nation's leading Armed Forces charity providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present and their families. It is also the national Custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces. It is best known for the annual Poppy Appeal and its emblem the red poppy.

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