Tag: Spain

Hard work pays off for Footwork duo

Danielle Dickie and Neve Bradley,are about to fulfil their dreams of becoming professional dancers ,
when they take the next important step by attending UK Performing Arts colleges in September
this year. Both have auditioned and been accepted and are very excited at the adventures which lie
ahead for them.
The girls have attended classes at Footwork Dance Studio in ballet, tap modern, jazz and acrobatics
under the tuition of Principal Erica Dorrill 3 or 4 days a week over a period of time. Their progression
has been such that they have reached a standard to allow them to take the next steps to become
professional dancers and performers.
Principal Erica Dorrill said: “Everyone wishes them lots of luck for the future. Both girls have worked
extremely hard and proved to be a great credit to the Dance School.”
Erica added, that she will be sad to see the girls go, but is happy in the knowledge that when
students take the next steps towards their chosen career, you have done your job correctly.
If you are interested in taking part in classes, at Footwork Dance Studios, they have classes for
everyone, from 2 years through to adults, with the eldest member being 80 – proving it’s never too
late to join a class. Contact Erica on 662003823, email: footworkdance@hotmail.com or check out
the facebook page ‘Footwork Dance Studios Spain’.

Habaneras is 13

To mark their thirteenth birthday, Habaneras is offering its customers chance
to win one of 13 prizes. They will hide 13 unusual ‘cats’ around Torrevieja
which will appear each day between 1 st to 13 th March. If you are one of the
lucky people to find one then you should bring it to Habaneras and claim your
On the 17 th March there will be a grand prize draw at the centre when the
winners of the 13 raffle prizes will be announced. Prizes include tickets for the
musical Tadeo Jones, a getaway for two and many gifts from their stores. This
will be accompanied by a matsuri-style cocktail party with an opportunity to
taste sushi and other Japanese delicacies. You can even try some ‘golden’
The birthday of Torrevieja’s commercial centre comes at a difficult time. With
the new Sunday trading hours commercial centres like Habaneras will find
themselves losing out. A particular concern is that the restaurants and cafes
that are based in their facilities will not attract customers on their own.
Although they are not obliged to close during the Sunday shut downs, there
will be few people in the centres to use them.
In order to still keep people coming when shops are no longer trading,
Habaneras is advertising ‘Family Sundays’. The shops may be closed but
there will be a range of fun family activities to take their place. The activities
include recycling workshops, a city vegetable garden from 12pm until 3pm
and games, competitions and crafts for children.
From 4.30pm until 8.30pm there will be a free zip wire and salsa and bachata
dance classes from 5pm until 6pm on Sundays. From 12pm until 6pm there
will be a free nanny service with professional childcare for children and
toddlers for those wanting to take part in these activities. Through adopting
these measures the centre hopes to keep people coming to its shops, cafes
and restaurants.

Goodbye and thanks to the Flower Club

Torrevieja Flower Club has been a very popular local club, operating in the
townfor the past thirty years. The organisers have arranged floral
demonstrations and coach outings at regular intervals and it has been a major
fund raising organisation, not only to keep themselves going but to donate to
worthwhile causes.
Most recently the club presented a cheque to Councillor Carmen Morate of
€1,500 to benefit the organisation Animalistas Torrevieja which helps provide
care for the lost and found animals in Torrevieja. Animalistas Torrevieja were
founded in 2012 and volunteers help at the animal shelter and in other ways,
supporting the welfare of animals. They assist with the adoption of animals,
the castration of cats programme, animal foster homes and help the animals
to socialise.
A cheque was also presented to the Stroke Support group. The group are
based in La Siesta and has offered support since 2007 to those people who
have suffered from or are supporting someone who has had a stroke. They
help provide advice and assistance with the rehabilitation process and help
with the purchase of wheelchairs and orthopaedic beds. Sandra Lambe is the
chair lady of the Flower Club. She is particularly appreciative of what they
have done in supporting her son who had five small strokes in two months
when he was in Torrevieja.
Unfortunately, it now looks as though these may well be the last donations
that the club is able to give.
A loss to the local area
Torrevieja’s Flower Club was started thirty years ago by Margaret Atherton
and Alma Villiers. Over this time it has brought a lot of pleasure to those
attending the regular flower demonstrations from September to May.
However, unfortunately, the club is now having to close. As its members have
got older, the number taking part has reduced and some of them have
decided to return to the UK as a result of the uncertainty of Brexit.
As a result, the committee has found it more difficult to recruit and it’s not an
easy job to make sure that the club continues to be a success. There is a lot
of hard work and fundraising involved including supporting and entertaining
the flower demonstrators who must be brought over from the UK and are
accommodated during their stay.
Sandra Lambe joined the Torrevieja flower club 25 years ago and has been
the chair lady over the past 12 years. She is sad to see the club fold but no
one has been prepared to step into her boots. She has decided to step down
in order to spend more time with her husband who has suffered from ill health.
‘I do hope that someone will in the future start the club again,’ says Sandra. ‘It
is a shame that the club has had to close.’ She hopes that there will still be
opportunities to enjoy floral demonstrations, however. ‘There is a floral club in
Moraira so I will get a coach organised for their demonstrations now and
On behalf of its readers, Costa Blanca People would like to thank the Flower
Club for the enjoyment it has brought its members and the donations it has
made to the town.

Donation to homeless men

Imagine living without electricity, running water, sanitation – all the conveniences of
modern living. People living rough on waste land in Orihuela Costa face just that.
But now they have a petrol-driven generator, provided by a local church and a charity,
and at least can charge batteries to have electric lighting and can use low-powered
electric appliances.
It’s all thanks to the contributions from the congregation of the International Christian
Assembly in Torrevieja and Help at Home Costa Blanca, who jointly bought the 200
euro generator.
It was presented to those living rough by Carmen Perez, president of the charity and
church pastor Rafael Restrepo.
In addition, the church and charity have given the homeless in the area food parcels,
blankets, bedding, clothing, cooking utensils and personal hygiene items.
It was the idea of Eileen Mayes, past president of the charity and a member of the
church who realised there was a group of people living from hand to mouth beyond
the reach of social services’ facilities.
“There are a multitude of reasons why people end up homeless or living rough –
mental problems, marriage break-ups, things going terribly wrong in their lives which
they cannot cope with. There is no excuse for any country in the developed world to
allow people to slip through the net and turn their back on them,” said Eileen.
Pastor Raphel agreed. “It is wrong for people here in Spain to have to live this way and
there should be somewhere people can go where they have a permanent roof over
their heads and have the basic needs for modern living.”
Carmen added: “There is some accommodation, but this is in Orihuela town, miles
away from the coast and there is no provision here. Sadly the council in Orihuela think
most people on the coast are all financially secure second home owners who come
here for holidays.
“The truth is far from that. Sadly there are too many expats living on the coast who
don’t register on the Padron, don’t vote and don’t figure on council statistics, and as
the Padron is used to allocate funds per area, much money which should go on
providing facilities on the coast instead goes to Orihuela town and the surrounding
Eileen added: “We need to get people on the coast organised to get this dreadful state
of affairs sorted. People forced to live rough because of a lack of social services care,
are out of sight and out of mind. But a lack of council funding for Orihuela Costa is
there for everyone to see every day of the week. It’s staring you in the face with roads
full of unrepaired potholes, of pavements not maintained, and if you need an
ambulance or fire service be prepared to wait ages because they have to come from
quite a distance. Lives are at risk and it needs to be sorted.”
She added: “These homeless need to have a secure home in which to live. Not be living
under the constant threat of eviction on top of all the other hardships they are facing.”

A new beginning for the Royal British Legion Concert Band Spain

One of the Costa Blanca’s favourite band’s has decided to change its name and reform as the Royal
British Legion Concert Band Spain.
The original band was formed in 1993 when seven musicians from various musical backgrounds
came together and formed The Oompah band. With no other bands in the region they were in great
demand so the Oompah Band formed two additional bands, The Vega Baja Big Band and the Phoenix
Concert Band.
Since those days, the band has played at hundreds of events around the Costa Blanca. It has also
seen the arrival of their new Musical Director, David Last.
David has vast experience of the music world, including service with the Queens Own Buffs and at
the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall. He was also the principle at the Lyceum School of
Music in Manchester, he had his own youth band and for a time he was also a woodwind player with
the Territorial Army Band of the Royal Artillery.
Following the arrival of the new MD, many of the band members felt that a new stimulus was
needed for the band, so after consultation with senior members of the Royal British Legion, the
decision was taken by the band to reform under their new name.
However the transition is not quite complete as the MD is determined to provide the band with a
completely new image as they join the long list of bands that are currently affiliated to the Military
Charity. He is now in the process of having formal jackets tailored for every member of the new
band, together, of course, with new banners for their music stands.
It is hoped that the costs of the new clothing and equipment will be covered by sponsorship and
donations from local businesses. Already, two pledges of 500 euro each have been made by 'IBEX
Insurance' and by the UK company 'Surface Protection'. More funds are still needed though to cover
the remaining costs, so the RBL are now seeking any company or business that might like to help
with those costs. Additional information can be obtained by email at:
We do know that the music of the RBL Concert Band Spain will be wide and varied, ranging from
swing, through classical to musicals.
Since their new launch, the Royal British Legion Concert Band Spain continue to rehearse every
Tuesday 1.30pm – 4.30pm at the Municipal Library in San Miguel de Salinas.
Currently there are a number of vacancies in the band for musicians of all nationalities and in all
For more information please call David Last on 638 10 80 78 or Gloria on 679 576 591

UK bottom of ‘quality of life’ study

Spain came out second from the top in a recent study by uSwitch on the quality of life across
Europe. The UK did not fare so well, coming out at the bottom of the table. Despite earning
more money than average Europeans, Britons are not as happy. Not helping the fun factor is
the lack of sunshine, the high retirement age and the third lowest health spend as a
percentage of the country’s GDP. Workers in Britain have five and a half fewer holidays and
food, fuel, alcohol and cigarettes all cost more in the UK than elsewhere in Europe. Only 5% of
those Britons surveyed said that they were happy.
Spanish people can expect to live just over a year longer than people in the UK, and enjoy the
highest number of holiday days in Europe with 39 days. Spain also has the lowest alcohol price
of the 10 countries included in the survey.

Torrevieja requests clarity on Plusvalía

The local council has presented a motion to the national government in Spain
asking for clarification of the situation regarding collection of Plusvalía tax.
This is the tax collected by the town hall from the seller when a property is
sold. How much Plusvalía is payable depends upon the property’s rateable
value and the estimated increase on the land’s worth since it was first
There have been problems with the tax in that it has been charged even
where people have not made a profit on selling their property. However, they
have still had to pay the tax on an alleged increase in the value of the land
even though this has not translated into a capital gain for the person selling.
Recently cases have gone to court and some sellers have received their
money back. Now, tax collection agencies such as SUMA are refusing to
collect the tax due to the uncertainty of the situation.
This loss of tax revenue is having a major effect on town councils, particularly
ones like Torrevieja where the transfer of property has always been a major
source of income. In 2016 the town council collected €18,970,765 and this
reduced to €8,785,960 in 2017. A loss of €10,183,611. In 2016 the collection
of Plusvalía represented 19.5% of the total revenue of the city to 9.68% in
The situation has become even more acute because not only are collections
reduced but money has been paid back. In the last four months of 2017,
€282,964 was collected but €980,509.82 had to be returned which represents
a loss of €438,430 to the local budget. The continued loss of this income will
have a significant impact on the town’s ability to finance its projects.
The motion that the town council has submitted, supported by SUMA,
requests that the Spanish government amends the current law to better reflect
the actual increase in the price of the land, where such an increase exists.

Lane Discipline Explained

There have been a number of reports in the press regarding drivers in Spain being fined for driving in the
centre lane of a motorway, even when the road is clear. This is an offence and drivers who do so can be
fined, but the reality is, other than we drive on the right in Spain, there is no difference to the UK, where
“middle lane hogging” is also an offence.
Looking at how the two countries compare on roads with more than one lane in the direction of travel, if
we first look at the UK, and what Rule 264 of the Highway Code states.
“You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a
number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely
Comparing that to Spain, where we drive on the right, in fact the rule says as far to the right as possible,
Article 31 of the Reglamento General Circulacion is where we see rules for normal traffic flow explained.
“On roads with more than one lane for the direction of travel, the normal flow of traffic is in the right
hand lane, although you can use the other lane(s) when traffic circumstances dictate”, there is also an
extension of the rule which states “provided you do not hinder the progress of another vehicle”.
Although the wording is slightly different, bearing in mind the Spanish version is an interpretation for
ease of understanding and not a literal translation, the concept is the same. Under normal traffic
circumstances, unless traffic determines otherwise, in the UK we should always drive in the left-hand
lane, in Spain we should always use the right-hand lane.
The problem has always been one of understanding the rules of the road. The concept forms an integral
part of UK driver training, and has done for many years. You only have to look through historic copies of
the Highway Code and you will see the rules clearly printed. But it is a rule seemingly difficult for many
to understand.
In 2004, the UK launched a pilot scheme with road signs pointing out the correct lane discipline, and yet
these were still largely ignored.
More recently, the UK changed their procedure for dealing with drivers who remain in the centre lane,
by changing the procedure for reporting the offence and making it punishable by fixed penalty notice,
thus drivers can be fined on the spot and be 100 pound out of pocket.
Back in Spain, the same process is already in place. That is why drivers are issued with on the spot fines,
not because they are targeted for being foreigners or any of the other excuses that have been made, but
because driving in the right-hand lane is the normal procedure for the flow of traffic, and the fact that
“nobody else was around” is not a justifiable excuse for committing any offence.

Art competition

– a lovely, lively day
The Ray Scott Art Competition and Exhibition 2017 was a lively day last
Tuesday at La Herradura in Los Montesinos with more than 80 paintings
on display over 40 were entered into the Competition with approximately
the same amount in the Exhibition.  One hundred plus visitors came to La
Herradura and once again they were invited to submit The People´s
Choice this went to Glyn Whiting for Dog Tired who also took first place
with this painting in the category "People".  There are almost too many
winners to mention but the other first places went to Elaine Sissons,
Gladys Marsh, Pat Whelton, Nicola Moran, Pamela Heathcote and
Susanne Sayers.  There will be a full list of winners placings,
commendation certificates and photographs by Kristoff on the Facebook
pages Elche Children´s Care Home and Susan Reader.
Many thanks to our three judges this year Suzanne Stokes, Gloria Howes
and Roger McCrea they take on a very difficult job and the time they gave
is much appreciated.  Special thanks go to Jackie Nevin who did all of the
admin work and liaised with the artists, and to helpers on the day Abi
Johnson, Lynn Nicholls, Judy Denny and Jennie Lowe.  Thanks also go to
Avalon our main sponsor of this event and all of the many companies on
the logo board who all sponsored the prizes and certificates.  Plans are
already underway for The Ray Scott Art Competition 2018 so stalwart
artists and hopefully new artists please get painting!

Spanish equine sanctuary rescues yet another skeletal pony, confirming disturbing trend

A severely malnourished pony stallion showing signs of physical abuse is now in the care
of Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre in Rojales, Spain.
Rescued from the streets of Algorfa in conjunction with Almoradí police on September 21,
the pony known as Fudge is the sixth rescued by the sanctuary in five months, confirming
an alarming trend of ponies being abandoned in public places.
“When we started the centre nine years ago, we were rescuing animals that had been
locked away and left to starve,” said Easy Horse Care co-founder Sue Weeding. “Now,
they’re literally being dumped in the streets.”
The influx of ponies is putting the centre under increasing financial pressure as it looks to
provide the medical attention and care each abused equine needs.
“They all come to us needing castration and with a whole host of health problems,” said
Sue. “We pride ourselves on caring for them properly. We don’t just give them a bit of food
to keep them alive.”
The latest rescue, which has gained international attention, was found in a skeletal state,
with a massive infection in one eye and showing signs of what could well be deliberate
physical abuse. A visible scar on his neck suggests Fudge suffered a significant blow that
left two of his vertebrae broken, causing him to walk with a wobbly gait.
Donations to help cover Fudge’s rehabilitation costs are gratefully received and can be
made online: easyhorsecare.net/donate/one-off- donation.
“This old boy is about 20 years old and it's absolutely heartbreaking to think what he’s
suffered through,” said Sue. “It will be a time game for this fellow and we'll just take it one
step at a time. Whatever the outcome, we will give him anything and everything he needs,
and a whole lot of love on top.”
Miniature ponies like Fudge can live well into their thirties, so once he’s had time to grow in
strength, Fudge’s infected eye will be surgically removed and he’ll also be castrated. But in
the short time since he arrived at the centre, he’s already shown remarkable improvement.
“When we arrived to rescue him, he wouldn’t even lift his head,” explained Sue. “Now he
calls out to us and eats all day. I think he believes he’s in paradise now.”
Fudge’s rescue takes the total number of equines at the sanctuary to 108. While Sue and
her husband Rod Weeding continually work to re-home their rescues, they worry that
without other options, the number of equines in their care will only continue to grow.
“The situation is dire, because if we don’t take them, they’ll stay where they are,” said Sue.
“And how can we, as caring people, say no when there’s no one else?”
The Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre relies entirely on donations to fund its important
animal welfare work, including the feeding and care of the centre’s horses, ponies and
donkeys rescued from abuse, neglect and abandonment.
Donations of cash or items for the centre’s network of six charity shops across the Alicante
province are gratefully welcomed. A pick-up service is available to collect large donated
items such as furniture and each shop also offers a delivery service for large items
purchased in-store.
The Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre, located just outside Rojales at Partido Lo Garriga,
59, opens to the public on the first Sunday of every month between 1pm and 4pm. Free
horse tours run throughout the afternoon and refreshments are available in the café. For
more details and directions, please visit www.easyhorsecare.net

A big thank you from the orphanage

Pyjamas, sportswear, pants and t-shirts, were just some of the items that
those donating to the San José Obrero charity have enabled them to buy.
Julie from Carmens Bar in El Chaparral and her customers have been raising
money to fund the purchase of some much-needed items for the 70 children
who live in the orphanage.
The money has been raised through donations and also through the weekly
raffle with the winning prize of a free Sunday roast. Now, added to this
fundraising activity, the bar is selling charity calendars which have been
produced by Andy Ormiston with the support of a number of local businesses.
Lyn and Ken Adams have been assisting Julie in collecting the money and
working with the orphanage to make sure that it is spent on what’s needed
most. ‘We asked them to send us photos of what was bought with the money
and they replied almost straight away,’ said Lyn. ‘It’s good to see where the
money has been spent, and of, course, it reminds us of what they need more
of too.’
The collections continue and more donations and raffle entries will be
gratefully received.

9th October celebrations

On the 9 th October there was a public holiday in the Valencian region to
celebrate the community. El Día del Comunitat Valenciana is an annual event
which perhaps was tinged with reflection this year on the relationships
between regions and the nation state. The flag-raising ceremony took place in
the Plaza de la Constitucíon.
Many councillors were in attendance including the mayor, José Manuel Dolón
who had some words to say about the special relationships and function of
the regional administration. ‘Valencia is part of the Spanish project,’ he
explained. ‘We do need, however, fair financing and investment in our
infrastructurewhich is a necessary part of service delivery here.’
The mayor is calling for investment in the N332 which remains an ongoing
debate between regional and national money lenders as to who is responsible
for providing the finance.
Others in attendance included the Guardia Civil, the sea captain of Alicante,
representatives from different societies, the Salt Queen and her entourage.
The band, la Unión Musical Torrevejense, played hymns relating to
Torrevieja, the Valencian community and Spain. The soprano Conchita Pérez
Boj was also there to sing.