Menorca Britannia letter Aug 2010.
On behalf of your new committee it is my privilege, as president, to write this letter to you in order that you are all aware of the current situation regarding the Asociación and of the organization currently in progress for the proposed upcoming events and visits for the next 6 months and beyond.
But firstly I would like to remind everyone of the following brief summary and translation of the original articles of our Asociación
AIMS & OBJECTIVES
The Association is registered in Spain as a non-profit making organisation.
To further the close relationship between the people of Menorca and the British residents and visitors.
To organise guided excursions and cultural events to encourage a better knowledge of Menorca, and of the past and present relationship between the Island and the United Kingdom.
The organisation of educational activities to encourage and promote a better understanding of the young people of Menorca of their historic and cultural heritage.
The organisation of any activity, sporting, cultural or educational to enhance the relationship between the Menorquin and British communities.
The activity of the Association is not restricted to Menorca but is able to operate throughout the
Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom.
To encourage the formation of delegations in all the municipalities of Menorca operating under sub-committees of the General Executive Committee.
THE AGM AND YOUR COMMITTEE
At the AGM it was sad to say goodbye to Juan Torres. His resignation is due to family and his many other commitments. Having served on the committee since the very beginning and for the last 3 years as President he felt he could no longer devote the ever increasing time necessary in the organization of events. . He is, of course, together with Kim, still an active member and will help the Asociación, and has already, in any way he can in the future. We also lost Tony and June Preece as general committee members due to Tony´s other commitments as Captain of the Bowling Club.
It was proposed and agreed that Andres Herrero be elected President with myself continuing as Vice, together with Ann Yarrow taking over from Kim as Secretary, Richard to continue his good work as Treasurer, Sheila as Membership Secretary and with members Roy Sutherland and Polly Walker being elected to the committee.
At our first committee meeting Andres flatly refused to become President due to lack of time but agreed to take the post of Vice President, to back up myself as President and this was duly agreed by the committee on your behalf.
Membership numbers continue to grow, more than making up for those who have left Menorca entirely or, for various reasons, no longer find it possible to take advantage of the events and visits that the Asociación organizes.
We are aware that several people have voiced their disappointment at the few numbers of Spanish members we currently have. It has also been noted that over the years those most vociferous on this matter have also been those who have not introduced Spanish members to the Asociación. I reminded you all of the Aims and Objectives of Menorca Britannia and that we should all be prepared to invite our Spanish friends and neighbours to events and encourage them to join.
You will have to forgive me for mentioning it but it has also been voiced by some Spanish that have attended events as guests that they have not felt at home amongst us as many British members just talk amongst themselves and that they have felt left out. Surely we should feel humbled by these comments as they, the Spanish, always make us feel welcome when we visit them, however little of their language we speak.
Surely we all have Spanish friends that we can invite and it is hoped that during the next 12 months it is not too much to expect that with your determined effort our membership numbers can reach parity. (Equal numbers of Spanish (Menorquins) to British.)
Currently under discussion in committee is the possibility of other forms of membership in addition to membership for couples and singles as at present. Ideas such as group membership for Spanish associations, family membership and the possibility of membership by villa or apartment address are under discussion. The logistic of these proposals will take a lot more consideration, but carefully thought out some or all could be introduced next year.
The committee has already taken the initiative to target specific groups. We are also in constant touch with various affiliated associations and will continue in the future to work closely with them, and in some cases we will jointly organize events.
OTHER WORK OF THE ASOCIACIÓN
Since the Collingwood Commemorations last March we are now recognized throughout the Island by most people as the number one Menorcan/British Cultural and Historic association. One only has to telephone this authority or the other organization to receive instant recognition. This is very welcome as we obviously require their help on occasions but this can also lead to positive results in reverse. Menorca Britannia being sought to help some authorities in a variety of ways.
We currently continue to enjoy the close links with the Military Consorció, La Mola, and various other organizations formed some time ago, Menorca Britannia has recently forged formal links with the Valenciano Asociación, The Police National Asociación, The Commander of the Naval Base, and the Delas-Vigo Family of San Antonio. We have jointly written a formal agreement of understanding and co-operation with the Fundación Isla del Rey to enable our two entities to work closely together in the future. We are awaiting an opportunity to organize a small signing event at which members can attend together with the press. This will enable us to work with them in the projected and important prestigious events in 2011 for the 300th anniversary of the Military Hospital
A small group of the Asociación committee and co-opted members are currently working with the Fundació Desti Menorca, at their request, as consultants to help produce a British Tourist Product (the British Historical and Cultural Legacy) most suitable for promotion, publication and distribution in the UK to tour operators, travel agencies and the British public in general in order to greatly increase the awareness of the British holidaymaker of the fantastic things that they would encounter on Menorca.
We have been advised by the organizers of “Collingwood 2010” in Newcastle that several schools in the Tyneside area are very keen to forge cultural and educational links with schools in Menorca. I have had meetings with the Consellor of Education at the Consell Insular who is delighted to assist (actually “over the moon”) and they are very keen to put this into operation with some of the local schools and colleges here. Naturally until September little can be arranged with the schools being on holiday. The positive results in the future of such cultural links are innumerable and too many to list, but help with language, the understanding of each others histories and cultures, their different ways of life, exchange visits and the positive results this can have for tourism are just a few. I am sure that you can all think of many others. Members of this Asociación are preparing to give initial presentations to the participating schools in Menorca as soon as the programme is up and running.
FUTURE EVENTS, VISITS ETC:
It is recognized that not all members are interested in everything and therefore we are always trying to make the programme as varied as possible.
It is also the aim of the committee to prepare on a continuosly running basis, a rough guide programme for the year ahead. In just two meetings we have managed to put together a programme up until January and it is anticipated that we should be able to present a programme taking us up until the end of Summer 2011 by the New Year. This will give an indication to all members as to what to expect and to enable them to write up their diaries accordingly. Our small, but very important, number of non-resident members will also be able to see what is available to them and therefore when they should perhaps choose to visit.
Obviously by arranging events so far ahead you will, I am sure, understand that dates, venues and times would inevitably have to be provisional and subject to change nearer the date. Posters with precise information would be distributed as at present, some 2 to 3 weeks ahead whenever possible.
It will also be the case that most, if not all, events and visits in the future will be restricted to paid up members only. The only exceptions would be for events the Asociación arranges for the general public such as concerts etc. or excursions where transport is included when friends and relations can be invited and pay the non subsidized price.
Currently planned are the following visits and events
Saturday September 11th
A morning visit to the Montgofre Estate with a guided tour of the chapel, library etc.
With kind permission of the Fundación Rubio.
Saturday September 25th
A morning visit to the prehistoric site Talati guided by the chief arqueologist himself.
Dates and actual days depend on harvesting conditions. The alchohol content of the grapes etc
Sheila and myself have arranged with the Casals family that our members would be most welcome
to join with the Jubilados of Ferrerias and pick the grapes at Hort de Sant Patrici. This should be good fun as there is always a fiesta at the end of each mornings picking.
Sunday October 3rd
A joint event that we are organizing with the Valencianos. Venue is expected to be Es Castell.
Paella by them, British style puddings by us and we are hoping to arrange with the folkloric group Es Rebost to join in with some spontaneous guitar music and songs. This is when our ladies will be calling on members to come up with their favourite dessert recipes and produce them in coordination with the ladies of our committee. The recipes will be printed in Spanish and distributed at the event.
Wednesday November 10th.
The Police National will give an evening presentation describing the scope of their work and of how we can assist. With questions and answers after.
At a venue in Mahón to be confirmed with time etc.
Wednesday November 24th.
“The three British Admirals”
Coronel Fornals of the Military Museum is to give a Power Point Presentation showing the influence of the 3 British Admirals who had most influence on Menorca during the 18th century. Subtitles will be in English.
Venue in Es Castell.
Some-time in November or early December.
It is hoped to arrange a visit to and a tour of the new prison prior to it being opened. As yet no-one knows an exact completion date or, in fact, who will be running it. The Chief of the Police National, German de Miguel, is currently looking into this for us.
Between Christmas and New Year
We are starting to organize a Gala Concert at a theatre in Mahón partly in aid of Breast Cancer research. Details to follow in due course.
During the winter
We are anticipating a start on constructing the small Collingwood Commemorative Garden on Isla del Rey just as soon as the plans are agreed by the numerous authorities involved (More Beaurocracy). This would be an ongoing project during the winter.
In Planning for 2011
During the last weekend in April it has been proposed by the Heritage Officer of Morpeth that we are present at the inauguration of the replica bust of Collingwood which is expected to be placed in the entrance of the Town hall. This is the weekend of the famous “Morpeth Gathering” and a time when folkgroups from the North East attend.
With the support and participation of the folkloric group Es Rebost and the backing of the Fundació Desti Menorca we are hoping to be able to stage up to 3 events various venues and with the Menorca promotional touring bus in attendance in order to gain as much publicity for Menorca as possible. Plus of course visit many of the places with historic links to Collingwood. Should we think about a group visit for members at the same time and check out the cost of a travel and hotels package?
Sheila and I met and formed several relationships whilst representing Menorca at the “Collingwood 2010” event in Newcastle last March. It was therefore a privilege to meet and welcome a group from the HMS Caliope Association, retired Navy personnel and their wives when they visited Menorca and stayed at the Collingwood Hotel. We organized and accompanied them on an Island Tour and the main reason for their visit to Menorca, took them to the Isla del Rey. At their “Mess Dinner” their President Johm Hamilton presented a small donation towards the Collingwood Garden Fund with a promise of more financial support from the results of a raffle being held later this year.
The commanding officer of this RNVR base on the Tyne is currently here on holiday with his wife and daughter. In a totally unofficial and low key capacity (the way he wanted it) and after visiting Collingwood House for the tour last Thursday, Sheila and I took him across to the Isla del Rey. Afterwards he presented a full size White Ensign from HMS Caliope to Menorca Britannia in order that this may be flown on special occasions above the Collingwood Bust,
The big event being planned is the 300th Anniversary of the Hospital on Isla del Rey.
Much work to be done planning the part that our Asociación will play en the event. Ourselves, together with the Fundació Desti Menorca will, however, be heavily involved. It is possible that we will be organizing a British Heritage Week covering many aspects of the British presence on Menorca during the 18th century and highlighting the legacy still around us. This will possible be a costumed event and Desti Menorca are hoping that with their help this British Heritage Week will become an annual event (possibly May in future years) which will be well publicized in the UK and attract interest with the British public.
For next years event we believe that we will have visiting ships from the Spanish, British, American and Italian navies and it has also been mentioned from a reliable source that the Red Arrows have promised to attend.
As you see there is much work going on behind the scenes. We can only lay the foundations however and will be looking for help on many occasions.
Many of the planned events will be of a participating kind and that, for those member physically capable, it will in many cases be a question of “getting your hands dirty”
We are hoping that these hands on experiences and the rest of the planned events will be enjoyed by you all.
Asociación Menorca Britannia
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