Legion marks 90 years of service

Fecha Publicación: 
7 Abril 2011

Round Town News | Noticia

A Moving Festival of Remembrance in Alicante marked the 90th anniversary of the Royal British Legion as once again poppies were worn with pride.

The audience at Saturday night’s packed Auditorio de la Diputacion de Alicante clapped, cheered, and greeted guests with standing ovations in a hugely enjoyable and at times emotional benefit concert.

Founded in 1921 to support servicemen returning from the Great War, the Legion continues to aid former servicemen and women and their dependents – with money raised in Spain spent on the welfare of those living here.

And from the moment presenters Barry Britten and Gloria Navarro announced the entry of the Union Jack, the Spanish flag, and the standards of the Royal British Legion in Spain, District North, and four Chelsea Pensioners the crowd responded with applause.


The noise swelled to greet Afghanistan veterans Capt Frank Calderwell and Sgt Leona Johns – recently returned from duty - and was almost deafening for the entrance of Lewis Elliott, who lost a leg in the conflict, and is battling his way back to health. As a gala, the show was a great success both for its matinee and evening performances – the massed choirs were joined on stage by Just Brass and the Torrevieja Pipes and Drums.

Classic quartet All Angels – who have performed for the Legion at the Royal Albert Hall – and the X-Factor finalist Ruth Lorenzo, and the Costa Blanca’s own Vera Lynn, Cathy Carson, added a sprinkle of star quality to the concert.

The Bishop of Europe David Hamid led prayers in a ‘Drumhead Service’, a recreation of the multi-faith services held on the eve of battle, drums covered with regimental flags and colours to serve as an altar.


Prior to a two minute silence – marked by the sounding of the Last Post and Reveille – four children scattered poppies on the drums as tokens to represent those who died in service of their country – later returning with flowers as a symbolic thanks for the sacrifice of those who gave their lives for freedom.

And during the traditional silence poppies fell onto the heads of those standing in the hushed auditorium.

The Legion’s District Chairman Christopher Wyattthanked the Deputacion de Alicante and British Consul Paul Rodwell – recently made honorary President of the district – for helping make the event a reality.

He also paid tribute to RBL organiser Wendy Dengate for her dedication in having the dream of a “spectacular show” to mark the 90th anniversary and making it a reality.


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