Albeit a few days early, so as not to clash with similar events being held elsewhere, we saw a truly moving Armed Forces Day service at Capilla de las Mil Palmeras on Saturday, held by Levante Veterans and Friends Association, but very much with the support of Tony Jenkins and the Royal Naval Association.

Once again, the ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Pilar de la Horadada, José María, who always seems to enjoy such occasions. He was accompanied by the Councillor for Foreign Residents, María Nieves Moreno.

Gracing the altar, for the first time in some years, it was a pleasure to welcome back Pastor Keith Brown, who led the service with his usual dry wit and charm. Keith had been the minister at these events in Mil Palmeras since they first got underway in 2008, that drumhead ceremony being conducted in front of the church on a makeshift altar, before commitments at La Siesta Church in Torrevieja led to him stepping back.   

As the Costa Blanca International Concert Band played music from ‘Titanic’ the church was bursting at the seams. The Torrevieja Pipes and Drums led the standard bearers along Calle Alcarria into the front of Capilla de las Mil Palmeras.

As the congregation then struck up the hymn ‘Praise my soul the king of heaven’, the standard bearers marched into the church and the service got underway.

As the band played on there were wonderful solo performances from Rebecca Holt with ‘Keep the home fires burning’, and Stevie Spit who gave an emotional performance of ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables.

In his sermon, Pastor Brown began by reading a number of poignant extracts from the diary of a Military Policemen, Kenneth Anderson, who attached to the Middlesex Regiment. He served during the tail end of WW2.  Kenneth survived the war and died peacefully at his home in North Harrow just a few weeks ago.

His son Daryl came across the small diary that Kenneth had used to record his experiences in those final days of the war.

Whilst there were no great ramblings of major battles, entries in the diary nevertheless provided a very poignant insight of the final days of the war through the eyes of a very ordinary soldier………

Following the sermon, the last post and reveille were played by Ian Gibson, after which Pipe Major Brian Day piped the lament ‘Hector the Hero’.

The Exhortation and Kohima Epitaph were read by Walter Shatford with proceedings from the offertory collection donated to Cruz Roja, the Spanish Red Cross.

There followed the National Anthems of Spain and the United Kingdom and as the Concert Band played ‘Colors of the Wind’ from the film Pocahontas, the Standard Bearers led the congregation out into the Garden of Remembrance.

Pipe Sergeant Colin Gordon played as a wreath was then laid in memory of all those who have served, by Mayor José María, the Councillor for Foreign Residents, María Nieves Moreno and Mil Palmeras resident Louise Innes.

Then onto a very enjoyable lunch attended by over 50 people in Pueblo Latino.

Dating back to 1950. Armed Forces Day is an opportunity to show our support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets. Here in Spain, we include all military, blue light services and veterans who provide us with the security so that we can live in a more peaceful world.