poppy field

Spain District North

Branch News

Murcia Celebrate five Year Anniversary

Spain District North Murcia Branch of the Royal British Legion celebrated our 5th Anniversary on 5th April (a little premature as the Anniversary of the Branch inauguration falls on the 7th April).

The function was opened by Branch Chairman Carl Thomas reading the Exhortation and he later introduced the guest speakers and presented the gifts.

A dinner was held in celebration at Santuario Virgin de la Esparanza, Calaspara (Sanctuary of Hope). The entertainment was provided by “Woody” singing songs from the 50s and 60s along with one or two modern riffs. All that attended commented that he was fantastic and I can confirm he was.

The function was attended by several guests of which 3 couples became members and 3 people volunteered to become Telephone Buddies. Thanks in no small way to our Guests of Honour Spain District North Chairman, Jack Kemp, who was coerced into saying a few words with a gift from our Chairman and Spain District North Welfare Co-ordinator Pamela Twissel-Cross MBE who was thanked for her address with a bouquet of flowers. Pam was also very surprised with a temporary substitution for her medal. Thankfully she received it in the humour it was presented.

The only member of the original committee also received a bouquet of flowers, Murcia Branch BCS Billie Graham-Thomas, she was thanked for all her efforts in driving the Branch forward. This was presented by Branch Secretary Dave Bioletti.

 Also thanked was Lynn Symonds our founding secretary, she also booked the venue and menu.

The event took place on a very wet day it rained heavily all day and only one couple was put off making the journey. The Sanctuary of Hope on a sunny day is a beautiful location and if you get the chance to visit please do it is in Calaspara, Murcia.

Every person that attended commented on what a fantastic meal, venue, entertainment and day it was. We also held a raffle and auction that raised 264.50euro.

Thanks to everyone involved in organising the function and to all those that braved the weather to attend.

Here's to the next 5 years.

Branch Chairman

Carl Thomas

Branch Community Support

Training in Branch Community Support (BCS) Delivered to the Orihuela Costa

Branch Community Support (BCS) aims to support Royal British Legion Branches to deliver a range of activities to meet the current and predicted future information, advice and support requirements of the Armed Forces Community.

It enables branches to build on the foundations they have already created in their local communities, to keep records of the support they are providing and to inform to widen the footprint of the Legion by assisting hard-to-reach individuals in tackling the problem of loneliness and isolation.

It also keeps those administrators and officers higher up the chain of command informed so that they can provide funding and other assistance where required.

Here in Spain District North training is being provided to ensure that all branches can access BCS in the coming months, the latest of which was delivered to the Orihuela Costa Branch Chairman, Secretary, Jean Heald, and Community Support Officer, Sandie Coates, this week (5 March).

The photograph shows the training being delivered by the District Chairman, Jack Kemp, and the District Community Support Officer Pamela Twissell- Cross MBE

Residencia and T.I.E. matters clarified for Orihuela Costa Vets Club

The Orihuela Costa Veterans Club filled the venue once again at The Captains Table in Punta Prima when the guest speaker was Greg Bryant.

Greg runs Expat Solution services based in Pinar de Campoverde from where he helps expats with all matters relating to government bureaucracy, paperwork, translations and consultations.

On this occasion he attended the Breakfast Club to talk to it’s members about the importance of obtaining Residencia for those who wish to live permanently in Spain, and for those who are already in possession of the old ‘green’ certificate, the recommendation to exchange it for the Tarjeta De Identidad De Extranjero (T.I.E.).

While there is no obligation to change, it is recommended to do so by the National authorities as well as by the British Government as it is an updated, uniform, European residency document.  It is a physical card containing biometric elements which, among other things, can be used as an identity document, and will facilitate much easier access to many administrative formalities.

He explained that for those already in possession of Residence the exchange is really quite simple; payment of the €12 fee, completion of the necessary paperwork, possession of an up to date padron and attendance at your local office, either Murcia or Alicante in respect of Orihuela Costa Vets Club Members.

The Alicante office, he said, is extremely helpful and efficient, currently with six desks that processes applications in a matter of minutes.

Thereafter a second visit is necessary, usually after a period of a month or so, to collect the new TIE document.

He then went on to chat and answer questions about a number of other administrative matter including digital signatures and padron’s.

Greg’s easy and laid back style put many people’s mind’s at ease with members leaving the presentation with far more knowledge of local and national legislative procedures.

Anyone wishing to contact Greg for more information can do so either by phone: +34 689 408 412 or by email at: gregpa.bryan@gmail.com 

Gran Alacant and La Marina Branch - St David's Day

The branch celebrated St Davids Day and it proved a fantastic success with over a hundred people attending, the singing was led by “Come and Light My Choir lead by Andrea the choir who did a fantastic job singing a Number of welch songs with audience joining in heartly.

The tables were dressed beautifully with daffodils by our Vice Chairman Laura and Su sold and twisted arms to raise funds for the Poppy Appeal 165 euros. A wonderful day was had by all and it looks like this will be our first annual St David’s Celebration. (March 22)

Valentine’s “Mr and Mrs” in the Hondón Valley


The February Branch meeting of the Hondón Valley Branch of the Royal British Legion had a distinct “Valentine’s” feel about it.  Following the more formal part of the meeting Neil Pavitt arranged a “Mr and Mrs” Quiz for four couples.  There was much hilarity when asked to recall special events in their partnerships.  All four couples were really good sports and ended the evening still “happily married”. 

A really fun evening and the Branch is looking forward to events commemorating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June.  Information can be obtained from the Branch Secretary on hondonvalley.secretary@rbl.community (Feb 22)

District awards for Orihuela Costa RBL

At the February meeting of the Orihuela Costa and District RBL members were delighted to welcome the new chairman of Spain District North, Jack Kemp, who was visiting the branch for the first time since taking office.

In his short address he congratulated the Poppy Appeal organiser Eddie Coleman and his team for raising the magnificent sum of 32,000 euro, far more than any other branch in Spain. He spoke of his long-time admiration of the branch, highlighting especially the extensive social activities that were planned for the current year.

The main purpose of his visit, however, was the presentation of two District Chairman’s ‘Certificate’s of Appreciation’ to Secretary Jean Heald and Treasurer Malcolm Cavendish, for their outstanding service over many years to the branch and the Royal British Legion.

He spoke of Jean’s excellent management of branch administration and her efforts to keep people informed and aware during the Covid lockdown, while of Malcolm, he highlighted the fact that because of his dedication, the branch accounts are now probably amongst the best kept in Spain.

Presentations over, the branch was then entertained by the Costa Blanca Morris Dancers. Following an explanation of the origins and folklore of Morris Dancing the group gave an excellent demonstration of their skills, using the traditional bell pads and sticks, after which they invited members of the RBL to provide a rather ‘less than excellent’ demonstration of their own.

The group performs at local charity and public events across the Costa Blanca. They are currently looking for new members and for bookings. More information by email at: costablancamorrisdancers@yahoo.com

The Orihuela Costa Branch of the RBL meets on the 3rd Thursday of every month at the Olympia Restaurant in Mil Palmeras starting at 7.30 pm. You do not need a military background to join or to join in with any of the branch social gatherings which can be found at: http://branches.britishlegion.org.uk/branches/orihuela-costa (Feb 22)