Category: Local

MABS opens respite centre

 
Last week saw the official opening of the MABS cancer charity respite centre in Urbanization Camposol.
The charity purchased the old doctors’ centre in Camposol at the beginning of the year, and with the
help of contractors and many volunteers they have converted the building into a respite centre for those
suffering from all types of cancer.
The centre will also be used as a drop in for those seeking advice and on the lower level there are
storage facilitities for all of their specialist equipment and fund raising articles.
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Murcia was proud to assist this most needed facility and were able to pay
for an air conditioning system throughout the building, the specialised sanitary fittings in the two wet
rooms and articles of specialised furniture.
A spokesman for the Provincal Grand Lodge, Duncan Robert Mitchell, said he was pleased that we had
been able to assist and speed up the opening of this centre.
The photo shows Duncan Robert Mitchell “Past Provincial Grand Master” Beverley Thomson “Vice
President of MABS” Garry Sandlan “Provincial Charity Steward”, and Peter Kent “Provincial Grand
Master”.
The Provincial Grand Lodge of Murcia hopes to be able to support this charity and others in the
following years.

Los Pistoleros present their donations

On 28 th April if you were planning on treating yourself to a meal of fish and
chips you might have had a bit of a surprise when you got there. The main
dining hall at Quesada Fish and Chips was not populated with its usual
Saturday night diners but resembled what could only be described as a Wild
West scene.
Outlaws and saloon girls, preachers and Texas Rangers, Los Pistoleros were
out in force for their annual presentation of charity donations. Los Pistoleros
are a ‘westerner’ club and they re-enact scenes with traditional western
themes across the year at fiestas and at other events they are invited to. They
certainly know how to enjoy themselves too with the dance floor filled with line
dancers moving in unison.
This year Los Pistoleros had chosen four worthy causes to received the
money that had been collecting throughout the year. Following the meal,
Reach Out were presented with a cheque for €500, AECC €500. Butterfly
Children €500 and San José Obrero Orphanage in Orhuela €1,000.
Los Pistoleros are well known for their fundraising. In 2014 they won the
Costa Blanca People’s Pride of Spain award for ‘Fundraisers of the Year’.
Every year they decide on which charities to support at their AGM that this
year was held on 3 rd April. ‘We don’t keep any money for expenses or for
anything else,’ explained Marshall Brian Williams, otherwise known as
‘Stumpy’. ‘All the money goes to the charities we decide on at the meeting.’
Los Pistoleros continue to be a thriving organisation. First started in 2009 they
have raised a total of €16,000 during their years of entertaining others and, of
course, having a little fun themselves. The scenery and clothes that
accompany any Los Pistoleros gathering have been carefully put together for
authenticity. Some dresses are even brought in from America.
From their original founding membership group of ten people, they now
consist of forty members and draw in many more at their regular dances.
They are always happy to welcome new recruits and if you think you might
like to join them you should call Brian on 617 620 627.
At Quesada Fish and Chips those representatives collecting for their charities
were certainly appreciative of their fundraising activities. Vicente, the Director
of the orphanage in Orihuela, was there in person to receive the donation. It
was explained during his introduction that the orphanage is dependent on
contributions such as this to keep the children equipped and that they don’t
receive state funding.
It must have seemed a strange combination of people and activities as he
stood on the platform and, with the help of a translator, expressed his
gratitude on behalf of the children of the orphanage. For Los Pistoleros it was
an opportunity to make their own pastime of benefit to others too.

Fibromyalgia awareness raising

 
From the 7 th to 13 th May it’s Fibromyalgia awareness week. The events of the
week were presented at a press conference by Councillor Carmen Morate
with Maite Miralles and Juncal Macho who are president and secretary of
ASIMEPP (Asociación de Salud Integral, Mejoras Psícofísicas and
Psicosociales in Torrevieja). This is the third time that such an event has been
organised.
Fibromyalgia day is on 12 th May and awareness raising is being supported by
the town hall in Torrevieja. ‘It’s to give voice during these kinds of events to
the people who suffer from chronic illnesses and pain like fibromyalgia,’
announced Councillor Morate.
Everyone is invited to take part in the organised activitieswhich include an
open day, yoga workshops and Taichi at the Hombre del Mar on the 12 th May
at 11am. A manifesto will also be read and there will be three conferences by
University professors looking at various aspects of the disease. On Friday 11 th
May there will be a talk in the indoor market about how to improve your eating
habits to tackle the condition.
At 8.30 pm on 11 th May an award will be presented to an individual for their
collaboration and support in addressing the issues surrounding the condition.
The week’s awareness raising will conclude on May 13 th with Tibetan sound
therapy in the Centro de la Tercera Edad in Calle San Pascual at 11am.
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.
People suffering from the disease may also find that they are extremely tired,
have muscle stiffness and experience difficulty sleeping. They may also have
problems with memory and concentration and frequently suffer from
headaches and IBS.
Although treatment is available for some of these symptoms they are unlikely
to disappear completely. The exact causes of the syndrome are unknown but
it is thought to be linked to abnormal levels of some chemicals in the brain. It
is believed that some people are more likely to develop it due to the genes
inherited from their parents. The condition can also be triggered by a stressful
event.
Fibromyalgia affects more women than men and typically develops between
the ages of 30 and 50 although it can occur in people of any age including
children and the elderly. Estimates suggest that between one to 20 people
may be affected to some extent. It is a difficult condition to diagnose as there
are no specific tests for the condition and the symptoms mimic other
conditions too.

Costa Blanca beach shut after Portuguese Man O War sighted

At least one beach on the Costa Blanca has been shut after a Portuguese Man O War was
found on the shores. Altea banned bathers until the waters could be deemed safe, and the
poisonous species have also been seen on the Levante and Mal Pas beaches in
neighbouring Benidorm, as they were earlier in the month.
Although it looks – and stings – like a jellyfish, the Portuguese Man O'War is in fact a
different species altogether, a marine hydrozoan from the Physaliidae family normally
found in the Pacific, Atlantic and the Indian Oceans, but not normally in the
Mediterranean. Given their very close similarity, the Portuguese Man O'War, or Physalia
Physalis, is often referred to as a 'false jellyfish'.
Its stings are extremely painful and poisonous, and in some very rare cases, have proven
fatal.
As yet, Altea's environmental councillor Bea Nomdedeu says no reports have been
received of members of the public being stung, and the coastguard service has not
mentioned sightings for a day or two.
But the beach remains shut and will stay that way until at least the start of this week, in
case they come back, or longer if they are spotted again.
Lifeguards on the two aforementioned Benidorm beaches worked round the clock for two
days about a fortnight ago clearing up these perilous creatures. They fished out 14 of
them altogether.

Beach bar protest as summer service remains uncertain

Around 200 workers protested in front of the Town Hall in Playa Flamenca recently in
response to the early closure of the beach bars and the facilities they provided to the local
community and holidaymakers. The demonstrators called for the immediate restoration of
jobs on the beaches and the resumption of the beach services until the new contract for
services is awarded.
The workers feel they are being punished due to the ‘evident mismanagement by the
Orihuela town council which was caused by a misinterpretation of the contract for the
concession of beach services in Orihuela Costa’.
On the placards they carried the workers claim they are the solution to the provision of
the services on the beach of Orihuela – which includes: beach bars, toilets, umbrella and
sunbeds, recreational and nautical activities – because they want to work and provide
these services for people.
In a statement issued by the local workers group said: “The absence of these services is
causing significant damage for residents, tourists and businessmen in the area, apart from
bringing about the loss of more than 100 jobs that were covered by the concessionaire
company.
“In addition, the decision taken by the town council endangers the launching of such
services on the beaches of Orihuela cost in the summer of 2018, since the time required
by the new award process leaves the new awarded company without enough time to
develop the service. Consequently, this will generate a huge financial loss for the town and
it would be a serious blow for tourism, which is the economic engine of the area.”
The protest came hot on the heels of a press conference held in Orihuela City where
Councillor Luisa Bone announced that there is still no certainty that the beach bars and
services will be in place for Summer 2018. The councillor said that Orihuela Council
approved the specifications for the seasonal beach services contract, which includes the
beach bars.
The councillor alongside her colleague Francisco Sáez explained that the specifications
include the beach bars, sunshades, hammocks, pedalos, water sport boards and jet skis.
This new contract increases the amount the company must pay the Town Hall from
€300,000 to €500,000 per year and it has a duration of four years, and can be extended by
another two.
They explained the municipal secretary ruled it did not qualify to be considered urgent
because the change of contract was foreseeable, so the Town Hall could not give a day
when the beach services might reopen, “because it depends on the process and the
companies that make offers”, said Boné, although they hope it will all be ready for the
summer.
She noted the design for the beach bars, toilets and pergolas will be similar to the lifeguard
huts “to improve the image of the beaches and homogenise all the installations”.
These will not be ready until 2019 so for the 2018 season the winning company can use
whatever they propose as long as the Town Hall approves.
The specifications require 11 beach bars and 9 toilets each with men’s, women’s and
disabled rooms. There will also have to be another 9 disabled toilets on the Blue Flag
beaches.
Each beach bar must have a defibrillator and the workers must be trained to use them. Boné
explained the space allowed for sunshades and hammocks at Cala Bosque (La Zenia) will be
reduced from 800m2 to 520m2.
Sáez said that from Friday companies had been given 20 days to present their offers and
then the evaluation can begin. He also said three municipal technicians will supervise the
contract, the finalisation date is December 31st 2021, and 55 percent of the evaluation
criteria are objective and 45 percent subjective. Finally he thanked the technicians “for
working so quickly to get the specifications ready in record time”.

Easy Horse Care raises €12,000 to replace mini digger

Generous donors from around the world have helped the Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre in
Rojales fundraise 12,000 euros to replace a key piece of machinery needed to run the
equine sanctuary.
When the centre’s ageing mini digger broke down completely last June, 68 year-old co-
founder Rod Weeding’s life became instantly more gruelling. Without the mini digger, Rod
was forced move large hay bales, pile up manure and dig knee-deep trenches, all by hand.
The hard work has been physically punishing – but not even this has stopped the Rojales
centre from being a sanctuary for 113 rescued equines which have now found a forever
home and are tended with love and care.
The non-profit centre, which receives no government funding, launched its campaign to
raise the money for a replacement second-hand mini digger last August. That effort was
immediately bolstered by a major donation from Elche’s Fundación Juan Perán – Pikolinos;
the first such grant the centre had ever received.
Easy Horse Care then dedicated its 2018 fundraising equine calendar to the campaign. The
calendar proved so popular it was reprinted three times, raising €3,000 for the mini digger.
Kind hearted people from Spain, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Denmark, Australia, Holland,
the United States and many other countries also donated to help purchase the much-
needed mini digger.
After eight long months of fundraising, Sue and Rod were astounded to this month receive a
surprise €2,000 donation from Germany’s Epona Foundation for Horse and Environment,
enough to finally hit the overall €12,000 fundraising target.
Said Epona founder Marlies Kamps: "I think it's important to support each other, to support
the people who help animals – especially those that sadly other people have messed up. Sue
and Rod are examples for how it should be."
Sue expressed gratitude to all who threw their support behind the campaign.
“The mini digger is the most important piece of equipment at our centre, and life has been
so much harder without it. We are so grateful to everyone who has helped us get enough
money together for a replacement,” Sue said.
“We wish to say thank you to all – to the elderly pensioner who visited our centre to
contribute €500, to the man who knocked on our door to donate €15 and apologise for not
being able to give more, to the volunteers who gave their time to design the beautiful
limited-edition 2018 calendar, to the students, parents, children and everyone who helped –
thank you!”
New right hand
The second-hand mini digger has now been ordered and will arrive at Easy Horse Care in
about a month. It will become Rod’s ‘right hand’, speeding up his work and proving
incredibly helpful for the many upcoming maintenance tasks required, such as building new
field shelters for the rescued horses, ponies and donkeys.
The Easy Horse Care Rescue Centre relies entirely on donations to fund its important animal
welfare work. 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.
Anyone interested in making a donation, becoming a long-term sponsor, or volunteering at
the rescue centre or in the charity shops can call Sue on 652 021 980.
Located just outside Rojales at Partido Lo Garriga, 59, the centre opens to the public on the
first Sunday of every month between 1pm and 4pm. For more details and directions,
visit www.easyhorsecare.net. For regular updates, follow @EasyHorseCare on Facebook.

Charity chocolate indulgence

Cafe Vienna in Almoradi recently hosted an ‘afternoon delight’ of chocolate and pure indulgence.
Chocolate lovers were treated to a chocolate fountain with marshmallows, fruit and cheese, washed
down by a glass of cava. The charity event was organised by Heather and Derek, owners of the bar, in
aid of local charity, Huntington's Disease Association, Costa Blanca and raised an incredible 223 euros.
The next charity event for Huntington's Disease will be an “Auction of Items and Promises” to be held
at El Castillo, Calle San Fulgencio in La Marina on Saturdy 9 th June. The entry price is just 8 euros,
including supper. All items are new and have been donated by local businesses, including a Barcelona
football, signed by this season's first team players.
If you own a business and would like to donate an item to this worthwhile charity, or pledge some
time to offer a service that can be auctioned on the night, such as, gardening, painting and
decorating, hairdressing, makeovers, gym passes, will making, then please contact
christine.watkins@hda.org.es, or telephone 634 905 249.
Huntington's Disease, which is often called HD, is a hereditary disorder of the central nervous system.
It is a terminal illness affecting both men and women, which destroys the pathways between the
brain and the rest of the body, causing a very wide range of symptoms, including uncontrollable
movements, loss of speech and ability to swallow, incontinence and loss of memory function, as well
as depression and changes in personality. There is currently no cure.
Any child of an affected parent has a 50 per cent risk of inheriting the affected gene. Anyone
inheriting the affected gene will develop HD.
If you would like more information about HD, or are interested in helping this worthwhile local
charity, then please contact Marion Smith on 634 905 249, or email:marion.smith@hda.org.es

Beach bar contract still not tendered

The councilman of Contracting, Francisco Saez, has given an update on the contract for the
provision of chiringuitos on the beaches of Orihuela. The update comes hot on the heels of
annoyance from local residents and holidaymakers at the closure of the beach bars during
the Easter holiday period.
In response to calls for the current supplier to continue until a new service provider is
appointed, Councillor Saez explained that there has "never been any request for an
extension to the contract by the Department of Beaches, so we cannot prolong the contract
now."
The Councillor said that new specifications and valuation criteria have been added to the file
by the Council for Beaches, initiating the new tender dossier. Currently, the municipal
technicians are working on the new specifications and as soon as the file finalised the
department will tender according to the criteria established by the Department of Beaches,
and with accordance to the deadlines specified in Contract Law.
The councillor was keen to point out that his department was not to blame for the fact that
the beach bars are currently closed. He said the official contract ended at Easter 2018 and
was kee to point out that ‘any extension of the contract or the new tender does not depend
on the area of contracting, since we only process the requests that are requested b the
different areas of the municipal government’. He also defended the staff of the Department
of Contracting, saying that they ‘work with professionalism and I do not think it reasonable
to question their work. We are going to try to get the tender out as soon as possible so that
the summer will be covered with the new contract’.

‘La Ballena’ bites the dust

 
It’s been a monstrosity for some time now. The building, known locally as ‘La
Ballena’ or the whale, has finally been demolished. It has been a long process
to bring down this abandoned and dilapidated block with its town centre
location. The need for caution in the demolition process has been part of the
problem.
It has taken four months of work from a specialist company to make sure that
this five storey building was finally laid to rest. It has been abandoned since
2006 when those living in it had an eviction order placed on them due to the
precarious condition of the building. From then until 2011, efforts have been
made to ensure that the 29 different owners either put forward a renovation
project or had the building demolished.
However, as this was never achieved the local government began the process
on its own and accepted that it would also have to pay the bill along with it.
The building may now be down but the job isn’t quite complete. Anyone
passing by the site will notice the tonnes of rubble that are still there and will
need to be removed. Dividing walls will also need to be secured and a new
fence erected. All this work is already included in the price of the contract.
It has been a difficult operation for the demolition company who had to
complete the work by hand to avoid the structure collapsing. There was also a
hold up when Iberdrola had to come and disconnect the electricity. The fact
that this has also taken place during the holiday season has not helped
matters.
However, for those neighbours who have lived with vandalism, infestations of
mice and a colony of cats over the years, the removal of this eyesore will be
very welcome. The town hall has had to foot the cost of the demolition ata
cost of €230,000. They will attempt to pass on some of this to the owners,
whoinclude some banksas well also second-home owners. However, it is
unlikely that they will have much luck with this and are likely to remain out of
pocket.

Hundreds search for missing boy

Some 1,000 police officers, firefighters and volunteers searched on Saturday for an eight-
year-old boy whose disappearance four days previously in Almeria has gripped the country.
Gabriel Cruz was at his grandmother's home in the small village of Las Hortichuelas when he
left to go play at a friend's house nearby last Tuesday afternoon. He has not been seen
since.
His relatives alerted police who published a missing person's alert with a photo of the
smiling boy, which went viral in Spain via mobile messaging services and social media.
Since then, police and volunteers have been combing the countryside in the area on foot
and on horseback, using helicopters and drones to try and locate him. Interior Minister Juan
Ignacio Zoido said police were also searching waters off the coast nearby.
Cruz's parents have given several tearful interviews to Spanish media, saying he knew the
area well and could not have got lost.
“We hope we will get Gabriel back soon and that he will return home with his family, which
is where a boy who is only eight should be," his father Angel Cruz told reporters at a press
conference, before breaking down in tears.
In a twist on Friday, it emerged that a man had been detained this week for stalking
Gabriel's mother Patricia Ramirez, though authorities stressed he was not held in
connection with the disappearance of her son.
The man, named as Diego Miguel, had become "obsessed" with Ramirez and in 2016 was
ordered by a judge to stay away from her and given a three-month suspended jail sentence.
However, he broke this order several times, including in the hours when Gabriel
disappeared, and was detained for this reason authorities said. Police said they are
investigating the circumstances, but Angel Cruz stressed Saturday he believed the man had
nothing to do with his son's disappearance.
Latest development
A child’s vest was found in the rural area near Níjar where Gabriel disappeared. His father
identified the item of clothing as being his son's, and on Monday the Guardia Civil carried
out DNA tests which confirmed that the garment was indeed Gabriel’s.
They say the report of the clothing Gabriel was wearing when he vanished – a red jacket
and black Adidas tracksuit bottoms – did not mention a vest, although as it is an
undergarment, it may have been forgotten.
The search has now become more 'selective', say inspectors, who have cordoned off the
area around the reservoir pools and water treatment plant in the Las Negras sewage
works close to the footpath which leads to the San Pedro bay.
This time, the search continued in the dark, and detectives were out all night trying to find
the little boy.
They are accompanied by the now-famous 12-year- old Belgian Shepherd Elton, one of the
Guardia Civil's 550 sniffer dogs, who was key in helping to find the body of Madrid sixth-
former Diana Quer on New Year's Eve in a disused warehouse in Galicia, where she had
been dumped after being raped and murdered 16 months earlier.

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
prize.
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’
wine.
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
again.’
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.

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