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The Orihuela Costa Poppy Counting Team

As Remembrance Day took on especial significance this year with the centenary of the outbreak of WW1, and while thousands of Costa Blanca visitors and residents were busy commemorating the sacrifices that were made by those brave service and civilian personnel, many hundreds more across Spain District North were working hard in raising the essential funding necessary to carry on the good work in honour, respect and support of those courageous souls who paid the ultimate price for the freedom that we now enjoy.

With an estimated 2000 poppy boxes distributed across the 19 Branches, and in excess of 300 unsung heroes establishing themselves in airports, shopping malls, supermarkets, golf courses, bars, clubs, restaurants and the more obvious street corners, the District Poppy Appeal Co-ordinator Robin Hargrave was hoping that ‘his troops’ could beat the magnificent sum of €171,376.88 raised in the District in 2013.

On the Orihuela Costa, where, last year the Branch raised almost €25,000, 15% of the Spain District North total, the enormous job of organising the local count swung effortlessly into motion at the Olympia Restaurant in Mil Palmeras last Sunday morning.

The Poppy Collection boxes, gathered in during the previous few days, were distributed amongst the thirty volunteers, and with the help of a recently purchased ‘coin counting machine’ the task got underway.

‘The machine made it much easier this year’ said Chairman and local Poppy Coordinator Keith Carter. ‘This is the first time that we have used it and we no longer had the arduous task of counting all that coinage. We were all delighted to be saved the trouble.’

‘But it was still an enormous task which has once again shown just how generous the Costa Blanca public can be for such a worthwhile cause and whilst I wouldn’t wish to pick out any specific contribution I would certainly like to mention ‘Mick the Grip’ Reeves and the local golfing fraternity which, including €6483.11 brought in just last week, has now donated 9077.74 euro to the appeal.‘

The room hushed as the end of the count approached. Everyone was hoping that the amount would exceed that collected 12 months ago, however, waiting for Keith Carter to announce the total was even more nerve racking than anticipating the results of an X Factor elimination vote, but when it did come the volunteers broke into spontaneous applause.
The total was 16,679.15 which, added to that already collected by the branch during the course of the year, brings the running total to 30,850.85, an absolutely superb achievement.

With still more to come in from a small number of local projects, the final figure will not be released for some weeks, but it can already be seen that the branch is having yet another bumper year.

The Torrevieja Branch has also been working hard and they too will be hoping to exceed previous years totals when they consolidate their collections next Sunday morning at the Casa Ventura Restaurant in San Luis. Volunteer members are sought to help out with the count which gets underway at 10am.

Here in Spain the monies collected are consolidated by the District North offices, from where it is allocated to the support and welfare of veterans and their families living in Spain. This can include vital medical equipment, hearing aids, wheelchairs, glasses, mobility scooters, food or anything else required for their support.

All applications for help are income and savings related to ensure the neediest are dealt with first but the RBL will reply to any call for assistance within 3 days.
Branches are also training more welfare case workers as we speak, with volunteers who generously give up their time to work with the many brave souls who gave and continue to give so much for us.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/45558/

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