How the Poppy Appeal began in Spain
By Pamela Dawson Tasker BEM THE FIRST couple of collecting boxes and poppies boxes went out for my first Poppy Appeal about 1980
Just a couple of years previously, Major John Lambie had brought in to Spain the first poppy collection boxes and poppies and with the cooperation of George Outhwaite sr., British vice consul in Alicante, the Poppy Appeal Spain was introduced.
The first PACs poppy collectors covered their own area of the Costa Blanca. The first meeting of PACs (which included Olive Battye, whom I first met in Benidorm as she walked from bar to bar with a shopping trolley full of poppy boxes) was held in my house in Calpe. This was to introduce everybody and decide on individual boundaries.
The first branches of the Legion in Spain appeared a few years later and we PAOs were encouraged to approach any branch close to our area to request assistance with the distribution of poppy collecting boxes. I was assisting Dulcie Murphy in Calpe in those days, later to take over from her and to work with Calpe branch.
Major Lambie, after the first PA coordinator, Robin Guy resigned, asked me to take over the post of Poppy Appeal coordinator for DN Spain - a position I held for some years. The year before I took over the Poppy Appeal, the result for Spain was one million pesetas (€6,000) and now some years later it has reached €170,000!
How the Poppy Appeal has grown is all down to hardworking volunteers, the Legion Spain branches and the resident community here on the Costa Blanca.
£1.7 MILLION A WEEK is the amount of money The Royal British Legion (TRBL) spends on providing support to those who have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces and their dependants.
Yes, every week this amount provides practical care, advice and support to those who need it. Among the several million eligible to receive it, 25% of those who receive Legion help are below the age of 44, which includes all our returning heroes.
Where does this money come from? From donations and legacies, events, lotteries and trading, care home fees, grants, membership subs, investment income and, of course The Poppy Appeal.
The Poppy Appeal is where we, the expatriate residents here in Spain, can do our bit. 50% of the total raised last year was spent on welfare alone and that includes those in need among us here in Spain.
Poppy Appeal money raised in Spain is spent on welfare here and any surplus is returned to the Benevolent Fund in UK.
From mid-October, the poppies will be blooming somewhere near you, in clubs, bars, meeting places, seniors’ resorts, Alicante airport – wherever a box is accepted.
“If you would like to hold your own event to raise funds for TRBL, Poppy Appeal, please contact Poppy Appeal coordinator Robin Hargrave – email@example.com who will provide details of where to send your donation. So whether it’s a garden party, hog roast, fun run or sponsored abseil, think about having fun and raising funds for the Poppy Appeal.”
If you would like to help us, order a box for your establishment from your local Legion branch.
Our website is http:// counties.britishlegion.org.uk/ counties/spain-north From there you can find the contact for your nearest branch or for information email Peter Phillips on spainnorth.secre firstname.lastname@example.org
Poppies at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffordshire