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The Commonwealth Day Message 2012

News - Latest


the-queen-irelandA Message from Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, to celebrate Commonwealth Day 2012.
One of the great benefits of today’s technology-based world is the range of opportunities it offers to understand and appreciate how others live: we can see, hear and enter into the experience of people in communities and circumstances far removed from our own.


Eurostar reports continued growth in 2011

Go Local - March 2012

Eurostar reports continued growth in 2011

downloadEurostar, the high speed rail service between the UK and mainland Europe, has reported solid progress over the past year delivering continued growth in both passenger numbers and overall sales revenues.

Following the transformation of the business from a partnership of three railways to a single, unified corporate entity on 1 September 2010, the business has reported a preliminary, unaudited net profit of £20.8 million in its first full year of operation as a standalone company. 



Strike Confirmed

News - Latest

A general strike has been confirmed by Spanish unions for March 29th to protest against changes to the labour laws introduced by Rajoy's government, which they say makes it easier and cheaper for employers to sack staff. Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the EU at 23% and this figure is expected to rise further. There is concern that the Spanish economy is heading back into recession after it contracted at the end of last year



New Hope Oliva

Go Local - March 2012

DSC 9498The photographs show the opening by New Hope Oliva, of their premises acquired in the town centre, close to the Ajuntamiento, for the purpose of their interest in distribution of clothes and food to the needy, the provision of a club for children aged 6 to 11, a Friday Fun Club including table tennis, snooker and other indoor games, and also a book library.

DSC 9510_-_Copy


The photos show Pastors Don and Judy Day, some of those attending who came from the surrounding areas, and the ladies who helped with the provision of the buffet, having just received a pot plant as a thank you gift

Don and_Judy_3

The fellowship itself meets on Sunday mornings at 10.15 am for Music and Breakfast Club, followed at 11.30am at Homebase, Calle Constitucion #6 for Bible study and singing.

Details of all activities are available from the Pastor at 607 470 221





Giles Paxman visits Valencia to discuss ways to increase support for British nationals

Go Local - March 2012


HMA and_Consul_with_President_Fabra_Vice_President_Ciscar_and_regional_minister_Johnson_2
Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Spain, Giles Paxman, yesterday (Monday 5th March) visited Valencia to meet members of the Valencian Regional Government and discuss issues that affect British nationals living in the region. He was accompanied  by the British Consul for this part of Spain, Paul Rodwell.
During the meetings, the Valencian government emphasised the importance of British tourists and residents to the regional economy, with tourist spending alone estimated at more than 1.3 billion euros a year. The government expressed its willingness to work with the Embassy and its Consulate in Alicante to address the issues facing British residents.
At the meeting with the President of the Generalitat Valenciana, Alberto Fabra, both sides agreed to step up  efforts to help British nationals living in Valencia to integrate more successfully with their local communities. They agreed that language skills were important to making a success of living in Spain and discussed the possibility of developing a language exchange programme.


Pego Golf Society – Oliva Nova – February 28th

Go Local - March 2012

Pego Putter

Our format this week was changed from the originally planned singles stableford to bogey/par (individual matchplay against the course). As we rarely play this format it was met with a mixed reception, but all 47 competitors enjoyed the beautiful spring weather and a well presented course.

This was our second 'trophy' competition of the year with the Pego Putter being vied for by our members, and with only four players managing to beat the course (one of whom being guest Len Yates, who finished one up off a handicap of four), it's readily apparent how tough this format can be.

Our Captain, Stevie Patton, announced the prize winners as follows:

First – Rene Oliffe, winner of the trophy, who finished four up off a handicap of 24.6

Second – Rob Westlands, also four up but losing on count back, off 18.7

Third – Alan Barwick, two up off 16.0

Fourth – Andrew Harrison, all square off 11.1

Fifth – Trevor Baker, all square off 9.5

Sixth – Lyn Harrison, one down off 26.9

Nearest the Pins

Most unusually, both prizes were won by the same person, guest Len Yates, whose tee shots on the third and 16th both finished within six feet of the pin.


The two's pot was shared by Ken Millar and the aforementioned Len Yates.

There were 113 Balls in the Water and the pot was won by Patrick Lynch.

Finally, our Costa Blanca League captain, John Chessher, informed us that we won all five games against Peer Gynt to move to the top of Division Two.

Next week's competition is an individual stableford and will once again be at Oliva Nova. Registration will be at the normal time of 8:15 on March 6th. Details of the competition can be found on our website –



British Consul attends opening of new community centre in La Romana

Go Local - March 2012

The Consul_Mayor_and_Alan_Cook_cut_the_ribbon_1
This Friday saw the official opening of the community centre in La Romana, which will be run by the charity Amigos de La Romana. This charity, founded by British resident Alan Cook, stems from a need Mr Cook saw for the British community to have somewhere to go for up to date information, as well as a means of raising funds to help the most vulnerable members of the community.
Mr Cook has worked closely with the town hall to set this project up, at all times seeing the charity as a way to encourage integration between the 17% of the population which is British, and the rest of the town, which is mainly Spanish. The town hall has provided the building for the community centre and the Mayor, Manuel Hernández Riquelme, also attended the opening.
Amigos de La Romana is also working actively with other charities such as MABS, RBL and ACASA to offer even greater level of support to those in need or distress. Most of the fundraising will be done through a charity shop, which is within the community centre.
After attending the event, the Consul said “I was very impressed by the way Amigos de la Romana has set up a central hub in the village where residents of all nationalities can get information and welfare support.  The fact that it is run by both Spanish and British volunteers is a superb sign of integration and I welcome initiatives from both Amigos de la Romana and the Town Hall to set up language interchange sessions in the near future.  The fact that Amigos de la Romana have asked for help from other charities in the area such as MABS, RBL and  ACASA is a very sensible move to offer the very best support to those in need.”
Alan Cook, the president of Amigos de LA Romana thanked everyone who attended the official opening of the new centre. He said ‘We feel privileged that Paul Rodwell found the time in his busy schedule to officially open our centre together with the Mayor. The support from major charities who attended was overwhelming which tells us that this type of charity in Spain is desperately needed. From now on we will grow from strength to strength helping and integrating with the Spanish community.”
Residents of La Romana can visit the new community centre at Calle Mayor 47, 03669, La Romana, Alicante. Anyone wishing to find more information on living in Spain, and what support organisations exist for British nationals, can visit .



Pego Golf Society – Oliva Nova – March 6th

Go Local - March 2012

PGS Prizewinners_6th_March_2012

After what seems an interminable period of assorted non-qualifying formats, there was a very welcome return to normalcy (for many of our members!) in the shape of an individual stableford competition. The Oliva Nova course was in excellent condition and the greens were putting quite fast with some very tricky pin positions, which more than compensated for the rather generous forward yellow tee blocks. Our 44 members and four guests (Shaun O'Gorman, Clive Wright, Alan Guest and Alastair Taylor) endured some quite chilly and breezy conditions for the first three hours or so but were rewarded with a pleasantly warm end to their rounds, which was scant compensation for the generally rather disappointing scores. There were three matches in our Knockout Competition and the results were as follows: Dave Bell (giving seven strokes) beat Rene Oliffe by 4 & 2 to progress to the third round Martin Gates (giving a shot a hole) beat Dave Phillips by 5 & 3 to get through the first round Brian West (receiving 13 strokes) beat Malcolm Wise two up to meet Brendan Young in the second round. The main competition prizewinners were: Category One First – Angus Muir with 35 points off 16.6 Second – Andrew Harrison with 34 points off 11.1 Third – Donna Green with 32 points off 14.0 Honourable mention – Colin Foster with 32 points off 8.1 Category Two First – Johnny Evans with 35 points off 19.8 Second – Peter Chapman with 32 points off 22.7 Third – Bridget Dawson with 32 points off 18.1 Honourable mention – Jan Baker with 31 points off 27.1 The Guest Prize was won by Shaun O'Gorman with 40 points off 18 which, given his thrashing of the rest of the field, should be dramatically reduced for his next outing with us! The Nearest the Pin prizes were won by Jim Gillies on the 3rd and by Dave Phillips on the 16th. In our sweeps competitions nobody correctly guessed 153 Balls in the Water so it's a roll over and the 2's pot was shared between Dave Phillips, Malcolm Wise and Colin Foster. Next week's competition is an individual stableford and will once again be at Oliva Nova. Registration will be at the normal time of 8:15 on March 13th. Details of the competition can be found on our website –



Javea Green Success at BBC Winter Fours

Go Local - March 2012

bbc winter_fours

 The excellent BBC Winter Fours came to it’s conclusion on Saturday with success for Javea Greens’ Las Ranas. The team of Diane and Martin Hughes, Lynne and Derek Eldon, Alison and Jack Brown, Jan and Alan Phillips and Nick Cole won this closely fought league by just two points from the Shamrocks and the Dolly Mixtures. On the last afternoon Las Ranas were able to sit back and relax, have a couple of beers and watch the remaining teams battle it out for second and third place, having secured the victory the week before. Nick Cole thanked BBC for their organisation and the sponsors Studio Kitchens, Direkt Optik and VFS Europe for their financial backing. 



British expats to star in Channel 4 TV documentary programme

Go Local - March 2012

'Our Man In... The Costas'

Alicante -_football_fans


British residents on the Costas are set to star in a widely-praised TV documentary series on the work of the British Consulates, due to be broadcast next week.

Expats at an outreach event in Torrevieja, shoppers meeting consular staff in Iceland supermarket and Brits caught up in a forest fire are among the British public who feature in 'Our Man In... The Costas', due to be broadcast on the UK's Channel 4 at 23.00 Spanish time (22.00 GMT) on Thursday 8th March.

The programme provides exclusive, behind-the scene access to the work of the British Consulate in Alicante in helping Brits in distress. The job of the eight-strong consular team is to provide assistance to an estimated 330,000 British residents in the Alicante district, plus 3.5 million British holidaymakers who visit the area every year.

Paul Rodwell, Alicante Consul, says: "The programme shows some of the expats we are here to help. Our pro-active visits to the community are designed to listen to the concerns of British residents, and help them with issues ranging from property to pensions.

Alicante -_forest_fire_3_Paul_Rodwell

"We're also very keen to get the message across that residents can do simple things to help themselves and their friends. Make sure your visitors have got travel insurance, or they could end up asking you for money to help with huge medical bills.

"There is a lot of help that is easy to find on the ukinspain website. It could save you from confusing and incorrect advice that circulates on the expat rumour mill."

'Our Man In... The Costas' is the second in a three-part series on the work of the British consulates in Spain that has been widely praised by the critics. "The job title may suggest a world of panama hats and ambassador's receptions but the life of a British consular officer is far from glamorous", says The Daily Telegraph.

"Her Majesty's representatives are there to pick up the pieces" says The Times, while the Mail on Sunday describes the series as "Insightful... light hearted and tragic by turns".

As well as helping Brits caught up in a forest fire, the programme shows consular staff working with Spanish police to manage an invasion of tartan-clad football fans for a Spain v Scotland game in Alicante, and dealing with a fatal road traffic accident in Benidorm

The three part series, 'Our Man In...', is being shown on the UK's Channel 4. The second programme about Alicante goes out on Thursday 8th March at 23.00 CET, while the final programme on Tenerife and Barcelona airs on 15th March. The first programme on 1st March features the Balearics.

The series was filmed mainly in August and September last year and is produced by Screenchannel Television, a London-based independent production company.



HELP Benidorm volunteers receive official accreditation

Go Local - March 2012

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The British Consul, hospital staff and local councillors today attended an event in Villajoyosa hospital where the HELP Benidorm hospital visitors were handed their official accreditation badges. A group of about 20 volunteers from HELP Benidorm have been carrying out hospital visits for the last 9 months, visiting vulnerable patients twice a week, under the supervision of the hospital social work coordinator, Silvia. The agreement was finally signed in November and now the hospital visiting programme is officially recognised by the Valencian Regional Government.

The director of the hospital opened the event thanking the volunteers for their hard work and dedication. This was followed by words of thanks from Silvia and the British Consul, Paul Rodwell.

Mr Rodwell said 'This programme is an excellent example of integration and the benefits of Brits working closely with the local Spanish community. We are extremely grateful to the hard work that the volunteers carry out, which is a support to the Consulate and to English speakers who find themselves in this hospital'.

Silvia, the social worker, added: 'Today is about giving the volunteers the recognition they deserve. Now they are fully accredited they can feel part of the hospital team. The assistance they provide supporting and visiting English speaking patients in this hospital is a great help to us and today, from the whole hospital, we want to take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work and dedication'

Jan, the president of HELP Benidorm who attended along with the 20 other volunteers who have officially been given accreditation by the Valencian Regional Government health authorities also thanked the hospital and volunteers, especially Christine Lane, the volunteer coordinator, who was not able to attend. She said 'This volunteer programme has been really worthwhile and from the positive feedback we have received I can see that this service was really needed.'

More information about HELP Benidorm and how to get involved can be found on their website, and information about living in Spain and help for British nationals can be found on the British Consulate website



Over 200 Brits attend open day in Algorfa

Go Local - March 2012

Consul Paul_Rodwell_at_the_open_day



The British Consulate open day in Algorfa was attended by over 200 local residents keen to hear about consular services and find out what their pension, benefit and healthcare entitlements were. Bearing in mind that Algorfa is the town with the highest percentage of British nationals in Spain, almost 60%, there was a lot of interest from residents to discuss local issues and get up to date information from the experts about their entitlements in Spain.

The Consul used the presentation to explain what the Consulate can and cannot do and also to encourage residents to integrate and get involved in their local community. He explained the importance of voting in the regional elections to ensure that people's concerns are heard, and said he was pleased that many of those present were taking advantage of town hall's Spanish lessons, as learning a bit of the language plays a key role in integration.

The Pension, Benefit and Healthcare team then went on to clear up doubts that British nationals have about how to access healthcare in Spain and what benefits they can continue to claim once they leave the UK. They explained that all the information covered in their presentation can be found on the UK Foreign Office website in Spain –

The councillor for European Residents, Samantha Biddles, also attended to answer questions on town hall services. During her presentation she outlined her plans to create a better support system for the residents of Algorfa. She explained that she does not want to duplicate assistance that already exists, rather to fill any gaps that there are, drawing on the residents of all nationalities that live in Algorfa.

After the event, British Consul Paul Rodwell said, "It was a great to see over 200 Brits attending the event yesterday and to listen to their concerns as well as giving them a better understanding of what the Consulate does. It is clear from speaking to them that the lack of Spanish is a barrier to integration and this means that many of them are not aware of what their local Spanish social services offer. It is encouraging to see pro-active initiatives from the town hall in offering Spanish lessons and I support the initiative of Sam Biddles, the Councillor of European Residents, to set up a charity in Algorfa to work with social services and other charities up and down the costa to support residents living there."

As well as finding general information about living in Spain on, local residents can also find information about Algorfa town hall services on


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