Ignacio Ramos, the mayor of Pilar de la Horadada, was the guest of honour at last Thursday’s meeting of the Royal British Legion held in Mil Palmeras.

The mayor was accompanied by Pilar Maria Samper, the councillor for Tourism and Commerce in the town, where he was presented by an oil painting of the local Catholic Church, La Capilla de las Mil Palmeras, by the President of the Orihuela Costa and District Branch, Pastor Keith Brown.

A decision to make a suitable presentation to the town was made in appreciation of the outstanding support provided to the Branch in all of the ten years since it was first formed. 

In that time the one constant factor has been the use for its Remembrance Services of La Capilla de las Mil Palmeras so it was thought that an oil painting of the church might be an appropriate gift.

The project was discussed at a chance meeting with well-known local artist and RBL supporter Suzanne Stokes, and with the assistance of her photographer husband, David, a number of suitable images of the church were captured and the venture was underway.

When Suzanne spoke to the Branch President after the presentation she admitted at just how nervous she had been on accepting the commission. “Being an artist who specialises on the human form I was extremely worried that I might not be able to do the building justice.

It is a beautiful church and there were lots of elaborate shadows and reflected light that I had to consider, but on seeing the reaction of the mayor and the branch members to the painting I am absolutely delighted at how it turned out.”

In thanking the branch members Mayor Ignacio Ramos was clearly delighted by the gesture. He spoke of his appreciation of the RBL, the good work that they do and the importance of the role that they play in the local community. He talked of the two world wars, the awful losses that had been suffered across Europe, the Commonwealth and the rest of the world by all nations, and the importance in ensuring that it must not happen again.

As he addressed the branch the mayor became quite emotional. He said how deeply moved he was by the presentation, the kind words from members and the genuine affection that he felt from within the room as the presentation was made.  

Sheila Chinnock presenting the donation to Eddie Coleman
Sheila Chinnock presenting the donation to Eddie Coleman – Photo David Stokes

Following the departure of the mayor Pastor Keith welcomed Sheila Chinnock to the front of the room. He explained how, in recent years, Sheila had donated numerous paintings to local charities on the Costa Blanca, and last year how she had combine her two hobbies to create a poppy calendar in order to raise funds for the Royal British Legion.

The calendar features some of Sheila’s most popular poppy paintings, including the one that was commissioned by Stevie Spit for his Royal British Legion and AECC fundraiser at Benidorm Palace.

As a result of her endeavours Sheila was able to present the proceeds from the sales, almost 250 euro, to the RBL Poppy Appeal Organiser, Eddie Coleman.

Sheila said: “If my paintings and this calendar can make someone happy by raising a smile and helping someone in need by raising a euro, then they will have done everything I hoped.”