Category: Community

La Bella Lola wants a divorce

They are perhaps the most emblematic statues in Torrevieja and millions of visitors have been photographed with them over the years. La Bella Lola sits on her seat looking out to the sea on the Paseo de las Rocas, Juan Aparicio searching for her sailor husband to return. Meanwhile on the promenade of the dique de Levante her sister statue waves her husband off with her handkerchief.
The two statues have been part of the scenery for around fifteen years and the name Bella Lola has found itself associated with the wife left behind at port waiting for her husband to return. But now, in the year 2019, she wants a divorce. On the day before international women’s day, the Bella Lola statue could be seen on the dock, not waving her handkerchief, but divorce papers.
In a gesture of defiance at this image of a woman waiting forever, someone had placed in her hand a paper that asked for ‘Los papeles del divorcio’. The paper could be clearly seen bound to her metal handkerchief and must have raised a smile from those meeting the new, liberated Lola on 7th March.
Perhaps there is a message here too. In the Spanish online paper ‘Informacion’ it points out that if you look carefully at the statue the evidence of Lola’s vulnerability is evident. The green on her breasts and bottom has been eroded over the years not, they think, by the elements but by groping human hands. It is an interesting observation whatever you make of it.

Connections from the heart

Hello, my name is Jane Troubridge. I have been living in Spain for 11 years and feel very lucky that my three children and two grandchildren all live close to me in Spain. My husband has a successful business here and we feel truly blessed. However, life has not always been so good, in fact,for many years my life was pretty horrendous. The positive I take from surviving those dark days is the experience and empathy that I am able to share with others.
I am proud to be a volunteer of Help Vega Baja and privileged to be the Co-ordinator of a very special team of compassionate Help Vega Baja volunteers called “The Connections Team.” My family is the most precious thing in my life, closely followed by The Connections Team, whichI consider, my second family.
I was honored to work with the Help Vega Baja committee to introduce a new service to the charity. This wonderful new service aims to provide 24-hour emotional support and guidance to the practical support that Help Vega Baja are, and have been providing to so many peoplefor many years. This service has proven to be immensely successful in helping people take positive steps forward in a times of need, by combining emotional and practical support in a professional and supportive manner. The team currently has 12 carefully trained listeners. Emotional support is available by calling 965021552, 24-hours a day, everyday of the year, or by email at support@helpvegabaja.com. We also welcome people to pop in our meeting places for a cuppa and a chat, these are open Monday- Friday.Times and places advertised on our website.
So, what do we mean by emotional support and how does “Connections” help? We listen to anybody about anything that is troubling them in complete confidence and without judgement. It maybe relationship problems, financial issues, health concerns, anxiety, depression, bereavement, loneliness, abuse, addictions and many more. Actively listening to someone is a very special gift to give someone. If you think about it in today’s society, how often do we truly listen? I admit that, like most of us, when listening to friends and family I often peek at my mobile or load the dishwasher or perhaps think about what to cook for dinner. However, when on a Connections duty, a listener is carefully trained to be totally focused on actively listening to our callers, for those minutes the listener will shut the world out and give 100% commitment to every word spoken. By doing this we are able to give our callers time and space to gently explore their feelings in a safe and supportive environment, enabling them to offload difficult and sometimes overwhelming emotions. Of course, byhaving no emotional connection to our callers, they will feel comfortable to voice any feelings without fear of hurting our feelings. We continue to provide this emotional support for as long as our caller feels they need us to, and where necessary we can give guidance to practical support with our Help Vega Baja Welfare Officer, Help Vega Baja Committee, social workers, British Consulate, charities, organisations and counsellors.
Over the coming months we are going to be discussing specific issues within the community that we feel the Help Vega Baja Connection volunteerscan help with. The first being loneliness, which is an increasing concern for the expat community. Many people find themselves alone in Spain due to bereavement of a loved one, often with all their other family members and friends in the UK. Sometimes their carefully chosen home in asemi-rural situation enjoyed with a loved one, can leave them feeling isolated, trapped and lonelywhen their loved one has gone.Not wishing to burden their families living so many miles away, these feelings can become despairing.People caring for a loved one 24 hours a day can feel alone with little, if anytime, to socialise with friends or offload the difficulties they face every day.
Some people may feel alone with a problem, they may have many people around them but unable to share their difficult feelings with these people and therefore also feel isolated with distressing emotions. Couples can also feel isolated and lonely perhaps on urbanisations that feel empty in the winter months or unable to get out and about due to physical difficulties, not able to join in activities or socialise. Added to this, is the language barrier.Imagine for a moment someone living alone and not even being able to talk to someone at their local shops, pharmacy, perhaps not voicing anything or understanding any conversation for days on end, not being able to share even the smallest of worries which is a natural thing for us all to do.Connections listeners alsoprovide emotional support with the “Keep in Touch Scheme”.We will telephone people on the scheme who sometimes feel lonely or isolated,on agreed days for a chat. This is a very important part of our service, providing our community with a friendly voice and listening ear as this may be the onlytime they have had an opportunity to chat in days. Chatting through day to day worries can prevent these feelings from escalating and building layer upon layer of distress, which may lead to overwhelming emotions of despair or suicidal thoughts.
In addition to Connections and the Keep in Touch Scheme, Help Vega Baja are proud to announce their new Befriending Service. This new service provides a volunteer to go along and sit with someone, have a chat over a cup of teaand maybe more importantly, provide a carer with a few hours to themselves whilst their loved one has someone to keep them company. Our volunteers also visit people who are lonely and perhaps unable to leave their home through physical disability and therefore have little, if any, interaction with others. We are also happy to visit people who are residing in a nursing home. Many elderly people have limited Spanish, and nursing homes which are predominantly Spanish, can at times be quite isolating. The new Befriending Service and the Welfare team,, which also provide visits and offer advice, work well with the Connections Team and provides well rounded support for people in our community.
Being a listener is one of the best skills I have learnt, I am blessed to be volunteering with such kind and wonderfully warm people and to becontributing to the amazing work of such a successful charity.I find my role immensely rewarding, I often hear the words“thank you for listening”.
If you would like to find out more about HELP Vega Baja, visit their webpage at www.helpvegabaja.com or their active Facebook page. Anyone interested in learning how to become a listener can contact Jane via the HELP Vega Baja San Miguel Centre on 966 723 733 or 865 661 497

Alzheimer’s charity event

The 6th walk in aid of AFA (Asociación de Alzhéimer de Familiares y Amigos de Torrevieja) will be held on Sunday 7th April. The walk or run will begin at 10am and Councillor Carmen Morate hopes that as many people as possible will join in. ‘It has been extraordinary how many businesses have given their support to the event. We expect the public will do the same,’ she said at the press conference.
The walk is being coordinated by Trudy Páez and one of the main sponsors this year is Torrevieja hospital. Because of this, the title of the event has changed a little. This year it will be known as ‘VI Carrera/Marcha Solidaria AFA Torrevieja Salud’ to acknowledge the support being provided.
‘Throughout the six years of the event we are always looking to make improvements,’ explained the councillor. ‘The majority of the money collected will go this year to the centre itself. Every day those working there support the rehabilitation and stimulation of those suffering from Alzheimers.’
In spite of some changes, many aspects of the walk/ run will be the same as in previous years. It is a 4km route for those who wish to walk or, alternatively, you can complete a four or eight km run. The start and finish line is outside the Casino in Torrevieja and it costs 10 euros to take part. You can register at the association headquarters in la Avenida de la Estación 1, in the charity shop in calle Maestro Francisco Vallejos or on their web page: http://www.asuspuestos.com/evento/vi-carreramarcha-solidaria-afa-torrevieja
Every participant will receive a bag of goodies including a t-shirt, a bum bag, a hat, nuts and a ticket that entitles you to a drink and something to eat after the event. This year there will also be a new wardrobe service which previous years’ participants have asked for.
AFA would like to thank all those who are collaborating in this event and those who are contributing to a raffle linked to the numbers each participant is given. There will be a number of prizes including restaurant meals, Spa and physiotherapy vouchers. Every winner will receive a trophy and a ham.
You can collect your participants’ number and bib from 6th April in the Decathlon sports shop in Zenia Boulevard. Decathlon are also sponsoring the event. You can also collect your number on the day. There is more information available from the association’s web page on www.afatorrevieja.es

DISTRIBUTION OUTLETS PLEASE NOTE

Next Tuesday 19th March is a bank holiday here as Spain celebrates the feast day of San Jose, Father’s Day. The Costa Blanca People will be printed and distributed as usual on the Tuesday. However, if any of our outlets will be closed on Tuesday and would prefer not to receive their usual delivery of papers, please let us know by 12 noon on Friday 15th March. You can let us know by phone on 966 70 10 60 or email to office@costablancapeople.com

Beach for dogs will continue

A court has endorsed the town hall’s decision to designate la Cala del Moro-Cala del Mal Paso as a beach where dogs and their owners can bathe together. The court in Elche has agreed with Torrevieja town hall about the choice and the way in which the town hall went about it.
The court case was filed by a community of owners with property in Cala del Moro. They argued that the town hall should have consulted them before taking the decision to allow dogs to bathe there too. However, the judge ruled that the town hall’s consultation with officials was sufficient for the project to go ahead.Reports were received from the local police and a town biologist.
This area was recommended as being the most suitable for the purpose. As well as this stretch of coastline, part of the Punta Margalla beach was put forward as being suitable too. The court found that the town hall had made sufficient enquiries to reach their decision and that they did not need to extend the process to include a wider perspective.
Those living nearby have been very vocal in their opposition. They have staged several protests and there have been clashes with supporters of the new designation and with bathers themselves. Prior to the town hall’s decision, the Cala del Moro was hardly known or visited. It is located in an area where the cliffs begin between La Mata and Torrevieja. There is a small, sandy cove and the rest is low cliff with rock. A wooden ramp has been installed to improve access.
Councillor Carmen Morate was pleased to hear the outcome of the case. She has campaigned for a beach where dog owners could take their pets and was clear that the town hall had followed the proper procedures. However, she also indicated that the process wasn’t perfect and there is the intention of a wider consultation which is expected to take place around election time.

Saint Patrick’s Day on the Costa Blanca

Summer is on its way, but in Cabo Roig, the first sign of summer is not the swallows returning from their winter migration but the annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. In addition to the parade this year there will be a craft market both Saturday and Sunday in the car park beside the Medical Centre. Those who arrive early will probably get parking around La Regia park opposite El Gato, on the side streets of La Regia and in old Cabo Roig near the beaches.
The festivities will begin at 1pm with a big shoot out at the Depot although some will forgo the wild west show to get themselves seated by 2pm on the terraces of the bars and restaurants around the two-kilometre parade route. The best spots are usually found on the medical centre end of the “strip”.
As Saint Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday this year there will be free face painting for children aged between 0 to 100. You can have shamrocks or tricolours painted on your face or forehead but don’t leave it too late, all the best face painting will start at 1pm in three different locations between Milo’s and Peter Pan’s, near Banco Sabadell and over the road at the Depot. It is reported that Anna and Elsa from Frozen will be doing some of the face painting in person.
This Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is the ninth to be held in Cabo Roig and it has become world famous, so famous in fact that it is the best in Spain and mainland Europe and the ninth best in the world according to Google. The 2019 parade will be bigger and more spectacular than ever before.
Some think that the parade “just happens,” but it doesn’t. Local businesses contribute their time, talents, efforts and €15,000 to make this fun event happen each year. They run fundraising events all year around to build up the kitty so as this happy day is a reality. Each year, Sofia Alvarez (councillor for Tourism and foreign residents in the Orihuela town hall) organizes the necessary permissions, police assistance, barriers, stage and more. Her help and support of the event is vital to its success.
This year’s Grand Marshall is world-famous Irish Boxer and film star, Big Joe Egan, originally from Ringsend in Dublin.

Milestone for Benidorm Palace

Benidorm Palace will greet its 16 millionth customer this year after 42 years and over 3,500 shows, announced its owner Vicente Climent. The huge cabaret venue and restaurant burst onto the tourism scene on 12th July, 1977 with a show by a Brazilian ballet company.
Climent himself – who was 30 when the venue opened – took over after 13 years and his first commissioned show was a landmark performance with Soviet dancer Rudolf Nureyef – a night Finestrat-born musician Climent describes as ‘incredible’.
“Tickets sold out months before the show, and the keenest fans went along in the early morning to watch this world-class performer rehearsing,” Climent reveals.
With seating for 1,600 spectators per performance, and practically every single show being a sell-out, the current owner estimates that this summer, on the 42nd anniversary of Benidorm Palace, customer numbers will break the 16 million barrier. The venue has hosted the Spanish Song Festival and the Miss Spain finals, as well as major international conferences. Benidorm Palace’s complete renovation in 2005 saw it hosting all types of music and dance events, magic shows, comedy nights and acrobat displays in an eclectic programme that is constantly expanding.
“There are no cabaret halls like this left in Europe, and we need them,” Climent said in a recorded interview destined for Benidorm’s Tourism Museum.
“What else is there left to see on the stage at Benidorm Palace…? Everything we can possibly put on, that’s what, and for as long as we can, because my daughter will take over running it when I stop, then my grandchildren will, so it’s always going to stay in the family,” Climent concludes.

N332 – MAKING YOU VISIBLE

Once again, members of the N332 team will be on hand to answer your driving law questions at the Expo Torrevieja.
The event is taking place on the 9th and 10th of March at the International Auditorium in Torrevieja, bringing together local businesses and associations under one roof.
As well as being on hand to answer your questions, N332 will also be highlighting the need to be seen on the roads, with the campaign, “MAKING YOU VISIBLE”.
Last year, one in five people who lost their lives on the high capacity roads of Spain did so outside their vehicle. In total, some 60 people were killed whilst involved in some kind of emergency which they were dealing with, whether that involved placing warning triangles on the road, or just because they hadn´t been seen.
We have also seen an increase in the number of pedestrians and cyclists involved in serious or fatal incidents, again, some of these road users were not seen in time.
As part of the MAKING YOU VISIBLE campaign, N332, along with mobility scooter specialists, mabeq.com, will be giving away high visibility vests throughout the weekend, provided thanks to the support of the sponsors of the N332 project.
However, there´s a catch! At 08:00 on both Saturday and Sunday morning we will post a question on the N332.es website, and then you have to visit us at the expo to give us the answer. We will also ask you to have your photograph taken with us, as the campaign is all about being seen.
Don´t worry, the questions won’t be too difficult, but you will have to be quick as it is as we only have 50 to give away each day.
But that´s not all, for the first 50 people who bring along this page from the Costa Blanca People each day, you can pick up another very special gift, as we also have 50 calendars to give away each day which feature images of the Guardia Civil, supporting the APANEE charity.
Finally, because we hope that nobody will leave empty handed from the expo, we also have the new and exclusive N332 car stickers to give away, so you too can show your support for the project by displaying the sticker on your car, bike, or anywhere you choose.

Help horses thrive

One hundred and twenty equines need your help. These animals have suffered abuse and neglect for many years, until Sue and Rod Weeding, co-founders of Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre, took them in and gave them a home.
Every horse, pony and donkey that lives at the sanctuary is a survivor. Can you imagine living in a cage surrounded by your faeces, harassed by flies and with little access to food and water? Can you imagine being beaten almost to death and then being abandoned?
This was the reality for these equines. Bronson was beaten with a hammer and the blow almost killed him. Nine donkeys and 14 starving horses found at Callosa de Segura lived chained to a wall and were scared of humans. Luceiro’s left eye was rotting and the infection spreading.
But now, these rescued animals are now thriving at the Rojales rescue centre and their stories are of resilience and courage, of hope.
Sue and Rod’s efforts have also helped to improve animal welfare and rights in Spain, inspiring others to volunteer, donate or simply inform themselves about animal rights – and donations are what the horses, ponies and donkey’s need right now to keep the centre running. It costs a whopping €5,000 just to run the centre each week. But, over the last few months, Sue and Rod have had multiple extra and unexpected expenses. They now owe thousands and are calling for help to keep their centre open – donations can be made online at www.easyhorsecare.net/donate.
The expenses include €15,000 to the alfalfa hay supplier, who, despite a lack of payments, continues to bring forage for the rescued animals every week. The centre’s 4×4 vehicle also broke down – it’s the only form of transport for collecting new rescues, taking sick animals to hospital and picking up supplies. Repairing it cost €900. A major water leak also had to be fixed and doing so cost €5,000. To make matters worse, the patriarch of the little Camelot herd, Merlin, passed away recently. His hospital bill of €2,000 needs to be covered. His sudden dead left everyone broken hearted.
The San Vicente Veterinary Hospital was particularly kind with Red, a beloved mini who passed away last week after being hospitalised for a week and being rushed to surgery in a last attempt to save him.
“Everything was done to save his life, even the surgeon did the operation for free,” explained Sue. “All the hospital is charging for is the medical equipment.”
Red’s first bill amounted to €2,000 and a second bill for his surgery was €1,350.
“It seems that everything is just against us, a chain of expensive and unforeseen circumstances,” said Sue.
Challenging
Summer is a particularly challenging time for the centre’s six charity shops. “This is the time of the year that the shops go really quiet because it gets extremely hot. The shops are empty and we are not making as much money as we usually do.”
The centre owes more than €26,000 altogether. However, that won’t stop them. If an equine needs to be rescued today, Sue and Rod will find a way to save it.
But they can only continue their work with the generous support of the community. Please, donate today by visit www.easyhorsecare.net/donate – even €5 is enough to feed a rescued horse for a day.
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. A free horse tour with centre co-founder Rod Weeding begins at 2pm and refreshments are available in the café. For more details and directions, visit www.easyhorsecare.net. For regular updates, follow us on Facebook at @EasyHorseCare.

Salt tours in Torrevieja

 
On the 3 rd and the 10 th August there will be the first pilot tours of the salt works
in Torrevieja. The councillor for the environment, Fanny Serrano, presented
the proposals with the Director of the Grupo Salins, Emilio Díaz Caneja.
Alongside the tour there will be the opportunity to purchase some products
including bags of salt that are linked to the Parque Natural de La Mata-
Torrevieja.
The tour will include information about how salt is produced in Torrevieja and
includes the marketing of the fine sea salt which is used on the table and the
courser salt that is used for cooking. The design on the packets includes a
picture of the salt mountains and the logo of the Parque Natural.
The intention is to clearly display the link between Torrevieja and the products
as well as the natural park lands and lakes in the area. The salt products will
be displayed and sold in a number of outlets including a number of shops in
Torrevieja.
The production of these items has been taking place at the same time as the
salt company has been developing the idea of guided tours over the past
three years. Finally, the plans are coming to fruition with the trial tours this
August. Councillor Serrano explained; ‘The pilot will take place with two
guided visits in a bus to the salt works in order to demonstrate the process of
salt extraction.’
The bus will leave at 10am from the bus station at the Eras de la Sal and
those who are interested in taking part can register at
visitatorrevieja@salins.com leaving your full name, identity number and a
telephone contact. If you haven’t electronic means of registering then you can
register at the Tourist Office on the Paseo de Vista Alegre in town from
Monday to Friday from 9am until 8pm and on Saturday from 10am until 2pm.
These pilot visits are free.
Díaz hopes to finalise this project in the spring of 2018 and make the visits a
regular part of the salt work schedule. The trial tours on the 3 rd and the 10 th are
to test out what works well and what they need to change. When the visits are
firmed up then they will be conducted using the tourist train. It is expected that
the visits will include a stop at the salt lake and the salt mountains in order to
take in the view. Visitors will also then be able to visit the Centro de
Interpretación de la Industria Salinera where there is a little museum and a
shop dedicated to salt.
The salt company also owns a salt works in France where they operate a
similar tour. It is anticipated that Councillor Serrano might visit this too in order
to see how it works there and see what might be applied equally well in
Torrevieja.
Salt tours in Torrevieja
On the 3 rd and the 10 th August there will be the first pilot tours of the salt works
in Torrevieja. The councillor for the environment, Fanny Serrano, presented
the proposals with the Director of the Grupo Salins, Emilio Díaz Caneja.
Alongside the tour there will be the opportunity to purchase some products
including bags of salt that are linked to the Parque Natural de La Mata-
Torrevieja.
The tour will include information about how salt is produced in Torrevieja and
includes the marketing of the fine sea salt which is used on the table and the
courser salt that is used for cooking. The design on the packets includes a
picture of the salt mountains and the logo of the Parque Natural.
The intention is to clearly display the link between Torrevieja and the products
as well as the natural park lands and lakes in the area. The salt products will
be displayed and sold in a number of outlets including a number of shops in
Torrevieja.
The production of these items has been taking place at the same time as the
salt company has been developing the idea of guided tours over the past
three years. Finally, the plans are coming to fruition with the trial tours this
August. Councillor Serrano explained; ‘The pilot will take place with two
guided visits in a bus to the salt works in order to demonstrate the process of
salt extraction.’
The bus will leave at 10am from the bus station at the Eras de la Sal and
those who are interested in taking part can register at
visitatorrevieja@salins.com leaving your full name, identity number and a
telephone contact. If you haven’t electronic means of registering then you can
register at the Tourist Office on the Paseo de Vista Alegre in town from
Monday to Friday from 9am until 8pm and on Saturday from 10am until 2pm.
These pilot visits are free.
Díaz hopes to finalise this project in the spring of 2018 and make the visits a
regular part of the salt work schedule. The trial tours on the 3 rd and the 10 th are
to test out what works well and what they need to change. When the visits are
firmed up then they will be conducted using the tourist train. It is expected that
the visits will include a stop at the salt lake and the salt mountains in order to
take in the view. Visitors will also then be able to visit the Centro de
Interpretación de la Industria Salinera where there is a little museum and a
shop dedicated to salt.
The salt company also owns a salt works in France where they operate a
similar tour. It is anticipated that Councillor Serrano might visit this too in order
to see how it works there and see what might be applied equally well in
Torrevieja.

Cala Mosca – the fight goes on

Fight to save Cala Mosca continues
 
Two important developments took place in the past week in the fight to save Cala Mosca, the last kilometre of virgin coast in Orihuela Costa from the building of 1,500 new houses.
On 15th May, Bob Houliston of C.L.A.R.O., together with Marta Guillen, Councillor of the Orihuela political party Cambiemos and the regional assembly Deputy Antonio Estañ met with the Valencia government Director General for the Environment. The purpose of the visit was to follow up the meeting of the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee at the end of February which unanimously decided to request the Valencia regional government to carry out an independent Environmental Impact Study before taking a decision on the revised plan to build 1,500 new houses on Cala Mosca.
According to the law as it stands, the developer is responsible for carrying out an environmental impact study before the approval of a building project. However, Members of the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee objected that this involved an obvious conflict of interest in that the developer’s overriding concern would be to justify his project rather than prioritise environmental concerns. The visiting delegation argued that it would be within the competence of the Valencia government to commission an independent environmental impact study which could have a broader objective than the developer’s study which had not given sufficient protection to two endangered species present on Cala Mosca, the impact of the building project on the environment in general or the social cost of adding potentially 5-6,000 more to the population of Orihuela Costa already suffering from inadequate services.
The Director General for the Environment undertook to consider these arguments sympathetically when deciding on the reply to be given to the European Parliament.
The second development in the fight to save Cala Mosca was the surprise decision of the Valencia Government to reverse its earlier decision to exclude Cala Mosca from its new coastal protection plan. Announcing a modification to its initial proposal, the Valencia government included the southern third of Cala Mosca in its coastal protection plan but as a transitional measure which would prevent construction if the developer failed to carry out a building project within a period of 5 years.
 
More needed
While this is a welcome recognition of the importance of protecting Cala Mosca, it does not go far enough. It does not protect the northern two thirds of the area on which, although there is no house building, the infrastructure of streets, pavements and utilities has already been provided. The decision also carries the obvious danger that the developer will accelerate his plans to build on the so far virgin southern part of Cala Mosca in order to avoid the prohibition which would be applied after the 5 year transitional period.
However, something is better than nothing. The southern part of Cala Mosca is the most environmentally sensitive part where the endangered species are concentrated. Authority to build on this area would obviously be subject to very strict conditions.
C.L.A.R.O said in a statement: “The fight to save this emblematic remaining kilometre of virgin coast continues. There is important support to prevent its massive urbanisation.  It is a pity that the present Popular Party-Citizens party government of Orihuela has not lifted a finger to assist in this hugely important cause.”

Driving in Spain with the N332 group

Do We Have to Wear a Hat?
This week, we received a question from Costa Blanca People reader, John Bevan, from Quesada.
John asked, “Is it true that drivers of open top cars must wear some sort of hat to protect them from the intense rays of the sun?”
The answer is, according to law, no, you don´t. In fact, there is a chance that wearing a hat would prove dangerous as if it is not worn correctly, the wind could catch it, and blow the hat away and this could then become a potential hazard to other road users, especially the most vulnerable such as cyclists. However, the likelihood of this happening is slim, it is still a potential risk.
Of course not talking legally, it does make sense to wear a hat in order to protect yourself from the sun and its damaging rays as you say, but it is not a legal requirement.
The question does open up other points for comment, however, regarding open top cars. As much as possible, the manufacturers of these vehicles design them to be as safe as cars with full roofs. They are often fitted with strengthened supports around the windscreen for example, and roll bars, although these are not often as clearly identifiable as those fitted in rally cars, for example, in commercially available vehicles they are often integral to the structure.
So long as we are positioned correctly, sat down, wearing our seatbelt in the correct manner, open top cars are usually perfectly safe. Like all vehicles, It is when we don´t follow the design and safety guidelines when things go wrong.
Sometimes, vehicle occupants are seen with their hands held up or out of the cars, on a rare occasion even standing. Only recently, a vehicle was observed driving along the N-332 with the passenger standing up. This was not an open top car but it had a sunroof. We don´t need to be so graphic as to describe the likely outcome if that vehicle was involved in a collision of some form. You must keep your extremities, arms, legs etc., well within the confines of the vehicle for the roll bars to provide protection.
On the subject of legs, it is an increasingly common sight to see passengers with their legs up and feet on the dashboard. This also occurs in all types of vehicles and seems to increase with the summer months. It is an extremely dangerous practice. It is also illegal. The legs and feet can obscure the driver´s view, but worse than that, in the event of a collision there are two very common injuries, both of which often result in such serious injuries, amputation is common.
In the event of a collision, the airbags are normally deployed. If a passenger´s legs are over these airbags they will feel the full force of that deployment, which normally results in fractures to the legs, sometimes pelvic damage. If airbags do not deploy it is easy for the body to be thrown forward, underneath the seatbelt, an action known as submarining. This forces the body, feet first, like a torpedo through the windscreen, resulting in severe lacerations, often accompanied by fractures.
The only safe way to sit in any vehicle is within the design of the seat, with seatbelt securely fastened. You can read more about this on the n332.es website where we have a number of articles explaining in more detail.
 
Mark Nolan

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