The Poppy & The Royal British Legion

Thursday, November 15, 2012
By Martin Myall

Over the last few weeks many of us wore our poppy as a mark of respect for the servicemen and women who fought for our freedom over the last ninety-six years.

The poppy became an international symbol of Remembrance just after WW1 and was the inspiration of two women, Moine Michael, an American, and Anna Guerin, who was French. Moine was extremely moved by the poem written by the Canadian soldier, John McCrae, “We shall not sleep” also called “In Flanders Fields” which mentioned the poppies growing between the graves of the soldiers who had fallen. This poem has become an often quoted verse at Remembrance Day events.

In 1921 Anna Guerin brought artificial poppies for the first time to London and the British Legion officially adopted the poppy as a symbol of the great loss of life in war and the need to support financially, emotionally, and socially those who have served or are still serving in the Armed Forces and their dependants.

“For our tomorrow, they gave their today”

The RBL Nerja branch has been very active and under the Chairmanship of Nick Ball has raised €84,000 in the last four years. A contribution of €25,000 was made to the National Arboretum in Staffordshire, and 4 donations of €5,000 have been made to the rehabilitation centres in England, Scotland and Wales, where service personnel are being cared for and encouraged to build new lives and cope with disabilities. The balance has been donated to the Poppy Appeal.

Our remit also extends to people living here in the Axarquia who are needing support.

The RBL is non political and will not stand in judgement of the decisions to send our troops to places and conflicts with which we may not all agree. Its sole aim is to provide funds for the support and welfare of the services. Most of us gave willingly and felt proud to be giving something to help not only the men and women, but also their families who make huge sacrifices when our service personnel are fighting for our freedom in foreign and hostile lands.

“We Will Remember Them”

The Present Day
While we at the Nerja branch take our aims very seriously we do enjoy the friendship and sense of commitment and fun that is derived from being part of the Legion and over the last few weeks we have been involved in several fund raising events. This is the busiest time of the year for us, but we meet regularly over the rest of the year except for July and August.

On the 4th November there was a sponsored walk from the Hotel Al Ándalus in Maro to the Balcón de Europa and on to the El Puente restaurant. Due to very bad weather forecasting, it was decided to postpone the walk until the 18th November. However, a few “Hardies” decided to walk anyway raising €240. Well done to those who walked and we look forward to increasing that amount on the 18th.

On Friday 9th November we held the annual Poppy Appeal Ball at the Caves Restaurant in Maro. The evening got off to a great start with canapés and drinks, before a delicious four course meal. Music was provided by The Flying Dolphins and Barry Marks, who was also compare for the evening. We had a super raffle which raised €900. Some of the prizes were donated by Jaipur Indian Restaurant, Monroe’s, and the Nail Bar. In these days of austerity these prizes were very much appreciated. The dance floor was bouncing with very enthusiastic jiggers and a great evening ended around midnight – a really super do! – I think we all agreed.

Sunday was Remembrance Day and members of the RBL and friends attended a service in St Michael’s church in Nerja, laying wreaths and scattering poppies in the traditional way. Lunch was then at the Hotel Al Andalus and 85 people enjoyed the companionship and fellowship of the Legion.

We have regular lunches on the 1st Friday of each month at Restaurante La Peña Parda in La Herradura and at Hotel Al Andalus in Maro on the 3rd Thursday of each month. Non members are most welcome and should contact Marilyn on 952 526 423 (adamsnerja@yahoo.com) or Dave on 654 085 811 (dgdeepblue@gmail.com) to book, also anyone interested in joining the Legion. Our next lunch will be La Peña Parda on the 7th December.

New members are always welcome – so if you are interested in helping a very worthwhile cause or just want to enjoy the camaraderie, come along and join us.

(News/Events: Royal British Legion)

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