Local schoolgirl Millie is 13 years old. She is a keen dancer, she loves all types of sports and gymnastics – people who are acquainted with Millie know how active she is, always out and about on her roller boots and scooter.
Millie was diagnosed in 2015 with severe scoliosis. Scoliosis is the curvature of the spine; the last x-ray of Millie’s curve of the spine revealed elevation to a degree of 60/65. She has worn a back brace for the past three years to sleep in but unfortunately this has not worked. The rehabilitation specialist told Millie’s parents Emma and Steve that surgery is now the only option. Spain’s public healthcare system only offers the Harrington procedure as a surgical solution – this procedure involves metal rod fusion. Millie’s mum Emma explained, “We know this procedure works but Millie would have very limited flexibility and minimal quality of life, she would also never be able to dance or do gymnastics again. The traumatologist said that she would also need to wear a brace for 22 hours a day whilst she continues to grow and they would only be able to operate on her in a few years’ time.”
Emma continued, “As parents we want to give Millie the best opportunity in life that she deserves. I have met with Dr Juan Carlos Olaverri a private surgeon in Barcelona, he is one of only 20 surgeons in the world who performs an alternative procedures. He performs the VBT – Vertical Body Tethering and ASC – Anterior Scoliosis Correction procedures which are a lot less invasive and recovery is much quicker, this will allow Millie to continue to grow, hopefully without any further problems. The operation is lateral, but instead of a metal rod it incorporates a flexible cord into the side, which will allow the spine to straighten more as she grows. Dr Olaverri has advised that this procedure needs to be done sooner rather than later due to her age and expected growth spurts.”
Millie and her family hope that surgery can be scheduled on the 4th of February 2019. It will be necessary for Millie to be in hospital for 7 days, and then a further two weeks nearby in an apartment for aftercare from the surgical team. The cost of this procedure is in the region of €50,000.
Millie’s parents have kick-started a fundraising campaign in the hope that they can gather the funds needed to allow their daughter to live as normal a life as possible. They have set up a Facebook page called “We’ve got your back Millie” and have already garnered support from prominent local businesses such as The Christmas Shop and Venture Fleet as well as members of the public.
Emma said, “We are looking at fundraising suggestions and any merchandise or ideas that could be auctioned or donated. If there is anything that your readers can do or help in any way it would be greatly appreciated.”
To donate, simply visit the Go Fund Me page: www.gofundme.com/millie-spinal-operation
Alternatively, you can bring donations of cash or raffle prizes to Venture Fleet in Los Montesinos (see their advert on page 61 of the Costa Blanca People).
Two new buses have been bought at a cost of more than half a million euros. The buses will be added to existing stock to improve the bus service in the town. Each bus offers 49 places as well as a double ramp for access. They have GPS and inside the bus there will be information for passengers about the next stop. The buses have internal LED lighting, WIFI and USB connection.
The councillor for transport in Torrevieja, Javier Manzanares, explained that this was part of a package of improvements to the local bus service. There has been some debate about the allocation of the bus service contract. The purchase of the buses is a move by the current transport company to continue to provide bus services in the town.
The bus service in Torrevieja is currently run by Grupo Avanza who are a Mexican multinational firm who acquired Costa Azul. The manager of Grupo Avanza, Luis González, explained, ‘It’s just one more step in improving the service which we want to develop in a progressive way.’
The town hall has openly shared its ambitions to take over the public transport and waste disposal services in the town. In the long term such a move could lead to substantial savings and increased efficiency but difficulties arise because of the need for huge investment to purchase the vehicles needed.
The announcement about the two new buses is in spite of Grupo Avanza being aware of this possibility and the fact that there is no contract for their services at the moment. ‘These new buses are the result of our commitment to the city,’ explained González.
The current bus service is free to residents of Torrevieja but there are problems with its frequency and the number of routes available. Currently eight lines operate in the town and those using the service report frustrations with the timing of the buses and the routes they take. The two new buses are already in operation and are at least an indication that something is being done to improve the service.
This year, Remembrance Sunday fell on the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, making the commemorative events even more poignant. There were a series of services held across the Costa Blanca. A crowded church in La Siesta played host to Saturday’s ceremony where the RBL standards, as well as those of RAFA, RNA and RMA, were accompanied by the music of Torrevieja Pipes and Drums. During the service, prayers were offered by Fr Richard Seabrook before the Last Post was played by Ian Gibson of the JB Brass Band. Music was also provided by the Royal British Band in Spain led by David Last with vocals by Crescendo International choir.
Andy Kirkbride sang ‘Bring him home’ after which the standards, followed by dignitaries and wreath holders, moved to the cenotaph located in the church garden area where wreaths were laid.
On Sunday morning, hundreds gathered at the church in Mil Palmeras where the Orihuela Costa and District Branch held its annual service led by Pastor Keith Brown. Such was the extent of the crowd, the service was transmitted on a a large screen to a congregation of over 600 people.
Guests included the British Vice Consul Sara Munsterhjelm and the Chairman of the RBL Spain District North, Don Cubbon. They were joined by the mayor of Pilar de la Horadada, Ignacio Ramos, and five of his councillors along with Orihuela councillors Sofia Alvarez and Luisa Boné.
The standards were led to the church accompanied by Torrevieja Pipes and Drums and the Last Post was performed again by Ian Gibson. The RBL band provided musical accompaniment throughout the service. There was an incredibly moving performance of ‘Bring him home’ by RBL supporter Stevie Spit. The ceremony moved out to the brand new Garden of Remembrance, where dignitaries and guests laid wreathes in remembrance and members of the public added their own poppy crosses in memory of family members and lost friends.
Gran Alacant and La Marina Branch of the Royal British Legion, in association with the Ayuntamiento of San Fulgencio, also held their annual Service of Remembrance on Sunday while The Royal British Legion in Hondon Valley had conducted theirs a day earlier in Hondon de las Frailes.
The final event of the weekend took place in Campoverde on Sunday evening.
The Councillor for Beaches, Luisa Boné has highlighted the success of the Winter Beach activities and reminded people if they haven’t yet tried them out there’s still time. The activities have been hugely popular with a high number of people taking part in the fun, water-based weekend events.
Last weekend, 6th and 7th October around 200 people enjoyed diving, yoga, zumba, aqua aerobics, canoeing, paddle boarding and children’s workshops at La Caleta beach in Cabo Roig.
Councillor Bone said: “It is the third week of the new season of “The Winter Beach” programme and we are now confident that we are fulfilling the expectations, given the large number of participating users arriving for some of the activities such as paddle boarding and in the introduction to diving. There are still activities every weekend and these will continue until the first weekend of December.”
“The Departments for Beaches and Youth wanted to try water sports outside the summer season, since we have a mild climate and beautiful beaches that make it more than viable to use them for most of the year.”
Mar Ezcurra, Councillor for Youth, said: “We are carrying out an important commitment to these activities so that you can enjoy the beaches of Orihuela as a family throughout the year, since they are activities that cover all ages for spend a nice day and step to know the charms of our beaches. ”
The councillor for Tourism, Sofía Álvarez, has presented the VI edition of the Tapas and Gin & Tonic route, which will take place from 16th to 18th November.
She said: “This is one of the activities carried out by this Council that is most welcomed by the hospitality sector, by the residents of Orihuela and by the visitors that are received during that weekend in our municipality.”
New for this year’s event, the registration period has been extended for bars, restaurants, coffee shops and confectioners wishing to participate, and is open from now until Thursday 18th October. To register businesses must submit the application to the General Register of the City Council, which can be collected at the Tourist Office or downloaded from the website: www.orihuelaturistica.es. “It is a great opportunity to enjoy our cuisine, as well as visit the historic centre of Orihuela; walking through the streets and making stops at the establishments involved in this activity,” explained Councillor Alvarez.
This year the categories are: Gourmet Tapa, Traditional Tapa, Sweet Tapa and Gin & Tonic and establishments can participate in all of the proposed categories. They can also present tapas suitable for celiacs.
The Councillor said that a presentation of all the tapas and gin-tonics that have registered to participate will be made on Monday 22nd October before the media and the jury, in the María Moliner library.
The establishments that take part will be given a photograph of the dishes and drinks they enter, so they can use it to help promote their business in future.
The Councillor said: “We are inviting all hospitality venues across the catering sector to join this initiative to help us continue to position Orihuela on the map as a tourist destination, attracting more tourists than those who already come each year to savour the rich gastronomy of Oriola.”
A project to open a plaster mine which would decimate 1,450 hectares or 14.5 million square metres of land in San Miguel de Salinas has received a huge outcry from residents across the area. The mine would sit on the north-west-south facade of the municipality affecting most of the residential urban areas of the municipality and its economy.
San Miguel thrives on tourism and real estate but the mine would see these plummet along with related sectors such as retail, hospitality and construction. Agriculture would also suffer and all aspects of urban and rural life and livelihood would see adverse affects. In short the open cast mine would see house prices drop dramatically and the town would become a shadow of its former self as tourists dwindle and people move away. In particular the mine would border Torre Estrella and Ciudad de las Comunicaciones.
Manolo Gomez, President of the residents association San Miguel Arcangel, said: The town is now facing a a waste treatment plant on its eastern side and the open cast mine on its west and northern sides.”
The mining company, which is part of the Torralba Group, has sought permission from the authorities in Alicante to investigate and test the land for a proposed gypsum mine. Gypsum is a soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate. It is widely mined and is used as a fertilizer, and as the main constituent in many forms of plaster, blackboard chalk and plasterboard. The mine would spread from the Camino de la Balsa road up to Torre Estrella and Ciudad de las Comunicaciones, over to La Pedrera reservoir and down to the CV-95.
If the mine goes ahead it would also be a serious blow to the future Sierra de Escalona and Dehesa de Campoamor natural parks. Some 1,065 hectares of the proposed site overlap with the ZEPA area of the Escalona, a special protection area for birds. The Sierra de Escalona and Dehesa de Campoamor have been declared protection areas for the Imperial Eagle and Bonelli’s Eagle, in addition to having one of the most densely populated European Eagle Owl populations.
Despite the fact that the project was submitted in May 2016, the is still in its preliminary stage and only came to light recently – on 31st August – when the company’s proposal had to be released into the public domain along with the request for the Investigation Permit. The second stage would be the application for an Exploitation Permit.
Manolo Gomez said: “It is very important to carry out actions now so that the authorisation of the Research Permit is not granted and the project is cancelled because otherwise, once the Research Permit is granted, the company acquires exploitation rights over the deposit and it could require the government to compensate it for loss of profits.”
According to a 1973 Spanish mining law, mining is classed as an ‘industry of general interest’ and this allows farmers and landowners to have their land expropriated under a compulsory order. Other local areas and their residents would also be affected by the number of large lorries needed to service the mine.
Manolo Gomez added: “As citizens we cannot consent in the 21st century that private busineeses and interests shape our territory and decide our future and affect our lives. Faced with this serious situation we have promoted the creation of a neighbourhood coordinator to bring together the widest possible social spectrum to address this problem and we have also proposed to the City Council that we join forces in the face of such a challenge.”
Torrevieja hospital has announced that during the summer months the average waiting time in casualty was 45 minutes. Altogether the department attended to 78,282 emergencies which is around 851 a day. Of these, 46% were foreigners mostly from the UK, Ireland, France, Morocco and Norway.
The statistics refer to the months of July, August and September. Every year they are analysed to check on the impact that the tourist season has upon the ability of the hospital to function well. The average waiting time of 45 minutes is considered to be below the average across the country and below the figure last summer.
‘These figures have been achieved through planning at all emergency points,’ said Pepa Soriano, director of nursing. ‘Enabling the Department of Health of Torrevieja to respond effectively to demand during the hottest months.’
The swell in population was accommodated without the need to open up the additional hospital beds that are available on the second floor. These are there in case of a sudden peak in demand or a more extensive emergency situation arising.
Although there are more emergencies during the summer months they tend to be less serious and prolonged than during the winter period. During winter there is an increase in the number of respiratory problems which tends to lead to a need for more beds for a longer period of time. Many of the summer emergencies can be dealt with quite quickly and without the need to occupy a bed.
Another fantastic fundraising night raised a record-breaking €7,036.14 at The IX Butterfly Charity Ball in aid of The Butterfly Children’s Charity, DEBRA. The event was held recently at La Marina Camping Resort, La Marina, organised by Mary Chambers and Sue Rogers.
The glittering annual event hosted by Tommy Rogers was attended by 200 guests and they enjoyed a pool-side Cava reception followed by a three-course meal in the La Marina Restaurant and top entertainment courtesy of VJK.
The Butterfly Children Charity has been supporting EB families for 25 years and was honoured this year to have Diego and his family attending the event. Diego is a 9-year-old boy with EB a devastating condition. Along with Tommy Rogers, Diego helped raise the amazing amount. His personality won over the crowd and was key to encouraging people to donate more and more.
There were three winners on the Lucky Numbers competition, who won €50 each, they were: Sue Rogers, Carol Barkway and Ann Stobo and Sue and Carol kindly donated half of their winnings back to the charity. The main prize of the evening was €250 in vouchers for Zenia Boulevard, and was won by Kim and Roger Nickolds. There were many other prizes won on the night, such as a Kindle table, travel vouchers, prizes donated by hair and beauty salons and restaurants, a golfing voucher and hampers.
The auction allowed many of the guests to bid for bottles of Bollinger Champagne, green fees and buggies from La Finca Golf, Villamartin and Las Ramblas. Hotel vouchers from Sunset Beach Club, Benalmadena and the prestigious Hotel Puente Romana, Marbella were also money raising lots.
Once again, this year the Golden Butterfly was a great success with 20 Butterflies available at €50 each. The guests’ generosity meant all of the golden butterflies were sold and the winner was Tanya Taylor receiving €500. There were also numerous individual donations from the guests, all of which combined to allow the charity to raise its largest amount ever in one single event.
The Butterfly Children Charity would like to thank everyone who worked extremely hard behind the scene to make this event such a success, Tommy Rogers who hosts this event every year. All the local business from La Marina down to the Costa del Sol who continue to donate wonderful prizes, Pedro and all his staff at La Marina Camping Resort for all their hard work and for looking after all of the guests; and of course all of the guests who attend the event and who gave so generously to DEBRA. Without their support the event would never have happened. Next year’s Butterfly Charity Ball will be on Friday 27th September 2019, if you would like to attend this event, please contact Mary Chambers on 616 076 072.
Fun and delightful chaos at the park in La Romana where 57 dogs entered the Barkinside
Annual Dog Show last week. There were stalls selling goodies and food and of course the inevitable raffle and an auction.
Over 100 dog owners and dog lovers from all over the area came to show off their dogs, many of which had originally been adopted from Barkinside. Children from Kings College in Alicante also came to join in the fun by looking after and showing several of the dogs that are currently available for adoption.
Danny Castillo not only judged the classes but also gave a demonstration with his wonderful assistance dog Voltio. This included Voltio opening drawers to fetch items for his owner and also opening the fridge to take out fruit and water.
Danny had a difficult job to judge the competition with so many dogs, all of whom are the best and absolute winners in their owners’ eyes. He made his decisions and chose winners in each of the categories.
However the big winner of the day was the podenco Dakota, affectionately called Ducky.
Not only did she win Prettiest Bitch, she then went on to win Best in Show. However more importantly, she also found her forever home with Keeley Poole and Sharon Healey – and there were tears all round.
The day raised Euro 1,015 for Barkinside, the animal rescue and sanctuary based between La Romana and Novelda. If you would like to give a dog a home, or foster or sponsor an abandoned dog, please visit: www.Barkinside.es or if you feel you could host a fund raising event please call Jacquie on 697 122 883. All donations of money or items to sell at their boot fair, or towels and bowls for the dogs, would be gratefully received.
The latest statistics released by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE) suggest that only two out of ten people living in the Alicante province are less than 19 years old. This means that 19.8% of those living in this region are below 19 years of age or 363,000 out of the 1.8 million people living here. The drop in the number of young people has been put down to difficulties getting work, low wages, lack of professional opportunities and the problem of juggling parenthood and a career.
The result is an aging population with fewer and fewer young people and a growth in those of 100 years old and more. The number of people who have lived a century or more has now tripled in the province whilst the number of births has fallen by 5,000. In order to rectify the balance there would need to be a baby boom similar to that of the 1970s. This year 15,035 babies were born compared to 22,000 in 1976 – a record number for the province.
One of the factors being blamed for the decline is the difficulties that women have with childcare and the lack ofresponsibility taken by men in the family home. Sociologist from the University of Alicante, Raul Ruiz Callado, suggests that women are delaying having children or even deciding not to have them at all because of the difficulties of maintaining a career and looking after a family.
Callado also suggests that having more children is no longer seen as desirable. He describes how in agricultural societies having more children to help was seen to improve the quality and standard of living of the family. Children were considered to be ‘production goods’ but now, he suggests, they are ‘consumer goods’. They represent a considerable expense more than an aid for survival.
Does it matter? A reduction in the number of young people results in a loss to the economy. According to professor Carlos Gómez Gil from the University of Alicante, ‘Young people are a valuable work force. The deficit is damaging growth and the economy needs them. Their tax contributions are also important and as the population ages more workers are needed to cope with pensions.’
Saturday saw the start of the second edition of "The Winter Beach" at La Caleta in Cabo
Roig. The beaches of Orihuela are the perfect environment for of the 23 water, sports and
family activities that have been organised by the Department for Beaches and the
Department of Youth to run through the autumn and winter season.
Luisa Boné, Councillor for Beaches said that "after the high levels of participation in the first
edition of" The Winter Beach " which was held last spring, we are running more activities
this autumn, taking advantage of the magnificent climate of our area, to be able to continue
enjoying activities in the best setting we have, our beaches. "
Every Sunday, from 10:00am, you can practice paddle boarding, canoeing, aerobic activities
– such as aerobics, yoga, body balance. And so that parents can relax and enjoy these
activities without worrying about keeping the children entertained there are children's
workshops for them during the morning.
On Saturday 22 nd September, 29 th and the 2nd October, an introduction to diving has been
organised to allow locals to experience and enjoy the marine environment of the coast.
Mar Ezcurra Councilor for Youth said: “The activities are free and will be reported every
week through the Facebook pages of the Councils of Beaches and Youth in the calendar and
the corresponding activities. These are activities that enhance leisure on weekends on the
coast of Orihuela and also aims to educate people in the conservation, respect and
protection of the environment."
For many years HELP Murcia Mar Menor has provided a
hospital visiting service at Los Arcos University Hospital
visiting English speaking patients of all nationalities
providing magazines and company for those who find
themselves in hospital and do not speak Spanish. In a
further move to help their local hospital HELP recently
presented the hospital with 10 new wheel chairs as they
are always in great demand by patients.
The presentation to Director of the hospital Tomas
Salvador Fernandez Perez who was accompanied by
Manuela Muñoz Sanchez the supervisor of Safety and
Security of patients was made by Christine Baillie the
President of HELP M.M.M. with Janneke Chambers
representing HELP’s caring services. The hospital were
very pleased to receive the chairs and ensured HELP’s
president that they would be well used.
A spokesperson for HELP told the Costa Blanca People,
“This is the fourth presentation that HELP has made
during 2018 to help the people of the Murcia Region and
in this way we are able to give something back to the area
that we all enjoy living in.”