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NEWS LETTER, February 2013

Dear Members, Associates and Friends

During my time as Vice President and, latterly, President of Menorca Britannia it has been my habit at the beginning of January to write a summary looking forward to the coming year. I apologise that this is somewhat later than normal because of all the meetings and discussions held during the last couple of months or so, some still ongoing, with various external authorities and entities making arrangements as reported below.

These are very much in the spirit of the Asociación’s “Aims and Objectives”, its ethos. Although some of these will be ongoing programmes requiring long term commitment by our members there are others which are “one off” events.

Alongside these we are not losing sight of the normal monthly visits, excursions and events that members look forward to and, as always, we are trying to bring in a programme of interest to all. These regular events will be announced separately with informative notices being disseminated at least 14 days ahead.

Volunteer help with English in all the Island’s Primary Schools (4½-11years)

English is a compulsory subject from the age of 5 and all schools have a dedicated English language teacher. Native English speaking volunteers are needed to work on occasions alongside the teacher in order for the pupils to practice by listening and exchanges. You have previously been informed of the wonderful response by our members when a meeting was arranged at the Department of Education with ourselves and Elena Serra (head of foreign languages). In total 26 members showed interest in forming the nucleus of the team. (we hope others will gradually join them).

The English language teachers are currently undergoing a series of short courses and at the final session our volunteers will be invited to attend, meet with the teachers and be allocated the schools convenient to them./

The date for this meeting is yet to be determined but it is expected that the programme proper will start sometime during March./

We cannot stress enough the need for constancy, especially when working with the younger children. The commitment however will be flexible and reached by agreement with the individual school and teacher whether it is on a weekly, fortnightly or other more regular basis. Obviously it is recognised that due to unforeseen circumstances, Illness, holiday etc. there will be times when another person will have to step in. For this reason it is necessary to have a pool of volunteers who could step in on an ad hoc basis from time to time./

Our initial aim is to have a volunteer attached to each of the 38 primary schools on Menorca but I know that if this is successful Elena wishes to extend the programme out to pupils up to 14 years. If you are interested in joining the team then please let us know by e-mail and I will ensure that Elena has the details.

Linking Primary Schools in Menorca with Primary Schools in the UK.

Many members are currently supplying me with the names and details of primary schools in the UK that are willing to form a link with an equivalent school in Menorca. I am presently compiling a list of these which must include the Headmaster/mistress full title and e-mail address of the school. I would urge you to ensure that these details are available before the end of the month in order that this list can be completed and given to the Education Department. Should you have any preference as to your school being linked to a particular school in Menorca then please indicate. It should not be difficult with your family members back in the UK to find 38 potential schools.

I am very pleased to have brokered a link between CP Antoni Juan Alemany in Mahón and the Colligwood Primary School in North Shields, Tyneside. They are now proceeding to organise a joint programme whereby each class of both schools can regularly communicate with each other by e-mail and/or visual means.

The pupils of Antoni Juan are currently preparing a Manuscript, perhaps with photographs, which I am expecting to present by hand on behalf of the staff and pupils here to the Headmaster Mr. James Crinson and the Pupils of the Collingwood School when Sheila and I visit in March (see a following item re. Inauguration of Collingwood Bust) The future benefits of such links must be obvious to you all and do not need to be enumerated here.

Twinning of Mahón, Es Castell and North Tyneside District Council

Through contacts in the North East of England it was suggested that a twinning could be proposed between Mahón, Es Castell and North Tyneside. Originally mentioned to me in 2010 during the Collingwood Festival in Newcastle and again when various dignitaries from that region visited Menorca for the Menorca Britannia Collingwood Commemoration in March of that year. Newcastle City feels itself too large whilst Morpeth, being a Parish Council, too small. These both have huge links with Vice admiral Collingwood being firstly his place of birth and secondly where he started married life with his wife Sarah Blackett (the daughter of the Lord Mayor of Newcastle at that time).

With equally important links with Menorca, and Collingwood in particular, is the area now administered by North Tyneside Council. This conurbation stretches from the eastern boundary of Newcastle upon Tyne along the north of the river Tyne and includes, amongst others, the towns of Wallsend, North Shields, Tynemouth and Whitley Bay. The huge monument to Admiral Collingwood is situated at Tynemouth. Many Royal Naval vessels were constructed until recent time by the company Swan Hunter at Wallsend and the huge cannon situated on La Mola (and also, previously, at Favoritx and Llucalari) were manufactured by Vickers Armstrong in their factory on the Tyne.

Following various meetings by our contact with North Tyneside Council and, myself with Sra Agueda Reynes and Sr, Luis Camps, Mayors of Mahón and Es Castell respectively there is much enthusiasm being shown in both camps to forming an official “twinning”. Letters of intent are being prepared and we hope to have further information soon. With a population around 197.000 living in the North Tyneside area the future cultural, commercial activity and the potential for future tourism can be enormous. As we are expecting to be meeting again with Ms. Linda Arkley, the elected Mayor of North Tyneside, at the event we are attending in March we hope to add reinforcement and further this link.

Inauguration of the Copy of the Bust of Admiral Collingwood in Morpeth

When the various dignitaries attended our commemorative event of Admiral Collingwood in March 2010 our specially commissioned bust was greatly admired. The cultural officer of Morpeth was very envious and asked whether they could place a copy in the Town hall opposite his home. We, the committee of Menorca Britannia agreed to release our copyright on a one off basis when the mould should then be destroyed. Providing that on the attached plaque Menorca Britannia would be included, something in the following vein----

"THIS IS A COPY OF THE BUST OF ADMIRAL COLLINGWOOD COMMISSIONED BY THE ASOCIACION MENORCA BRITANNIA AND PLACED BY THE SIDE OF THE HARBOUR OF MAHON, ON THE ISLAND OF MENORCA, IN MARCH 2010, BEING THE OCCASION OF THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS DEATH."

Unfortunately due to the financial crisis it took some time to raise the finances but this has now been delivered and is in position. The bust is being formally inaugurated on March 7th. (the anniversary of the death of Admiral Collingwood in 1810) and I have been invited together with Sheila to attend this official event in Morpeth.

We are also due to attend an event the same evening being held at the famous Royal Grammar School that Collingwood attended until the age of 11 years. The event in Morpeth is being covered by BBC Look North television and it was originally suggested that a satellite link could be established so that small event perhaps on the Isla Del Rey with the laying of a wreath at the bust and a short service in St George’s Chapel be transmitted. Unfortunately the BBC could not guarantee a satellite vehicle on that day. Their subsequent idea was to send out a film journalist a few days earlier to film this event and then edit into the subsequent live event. This was agreed at BBC local level but the “bean counters” at higher level squashed it on grounds of cost. Even when the travel and accommodation costs might have been covered from this end by the Consell Insular and others the BBC rejected the idea as they would then have no impartial control over the content.

The BBC have agreed however that if we independently filmed the event and took the disc back to Morpeth with us their film editor would splice the footage into the overall programme. We are currently trying to find a free lance video cameraman and trying to arrange a small event as above mentioned. We have been in touch with the Anglican Church and have their full co-operation and we hope that as many of our members as possible will attend. Unfortunately we have no further details of date or time so notice may be fairly last minute. A bit of work to do on this yet and we are keeping our fingers crossed we can bring it off. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

The Newly Formed Collingwood Society

Emanating from the Collingwood Festival of 2010 in Newcastle we were delighted to hear that at last a Collingwood Society is now fully up and running with articles of association and other legalities completed. This, our friend and contact Captain Steve Healy of Trinity House, Newcastle upon Tyne tells us. Although UK wide this Society is based in Newcastle and Steve Healy has been elected the Founder Chairman.

We have offered full honorary membership of Menorca Britannia to all bona fide members of the Collingwood Society should they at any time be visiting Menorca and a reciprocal agreement for our members visiting the North East. Steve Healy and his wife Diane always remember the enjoyable days they spent on Menorca for our Collingwood Commemoration. We are placing a link on our website showing their postings and upcoming events and similarly their website (presently under construction) will show a link to ours. The Collingwood Society link on our website shows the congratulation letter that was recently sent to them. We will no doubt be meeting the majority of the founding members at the inauguration of the Bust of Collingwood in March The Menorca Britannia Commemorative Plaque, Calas Fonts

In 2008 we placed (with assistance from the Ajunatamiento of Es Castell) a large boulder in the grass at the junction of c/Jordi and c/ Stuart on the 300th anniversary of the arrival of the British in 1708. This was gracefully unveiled by our Honorary Vice Consul Deborah Hellyer together with the Alcalde at that time Sr. Cabrera and our then President Juan Torres. The plaque was jointly financed by ourselves and the council and under advice was of a modern plastic material. However since day one this has proved very disappointing and virtually unreadable. Later last year we decided to replace this with a new one in traditional hand painted glazed pottery. This was completed earlier this year and at a fraction of the cost of the original. This is now in our possession and two of our members will be removing the old one and replacing it with this new plaque, much more colorful and easy to read. A multitude of people stop to read this on a daily basis especially during the tourist season and it is also hoped to tidy up the planting alongside and make it more presentable for everyone.

Two Day British Menorca Event in Late September.

I have been approached by Luis Camps the Mayor of Es Castell asking if Menorca Britannia would be willing to organize an event as last year in June. I pointed out that financially or physically we would not be willing to do this alone. I made it very clear that as well as the logistical support given by the council last year, setting up marquees, the stages, the rink and seating for the horse displays etc. that should we help we would want the event to be inclusive of all the Menorquin and Spanish Associations and groups as well and if that was the case we would be willing to take an active role in the organization. I suggested that a meeting should be convened, hosted by the Ayuntamiento, when representatives of those interested could participate. Different parts of the organization being shared amongst the participants. He is insistent that the horses be involved as a finale and I have said we would not be willing to finance the huge cost of these as last year. I did point out that the sand purchased by Menorca Britannia last year is stored behind the barracks and is therefore at his disposal once more.

In the first instance some representatives of our committee will attend this first meeting and thereafter we will be looking for volunteers from the membership once more.

Our Visit to the Power Station

The proposed visit to the power station on Friday 8th January is close to the limit but there are still 5 places available for anyone who still wants to join us.

Our next event Thursday 21st January

Full details of this will be sent out in a few days. However for advance information we have been invited to visit the Molino de Sant Lluis for a guided and explanatory tour followed immediately by a visit to the newly refurbished Torre de Son Ganxo where we will be able to inspect the interior. Please await the official notice before booking.

That’s it for now but as soon as there is further news I will immediately let you know
I hope that you all continue to enjoy the events we organize and look forward to seeing you at one or the other—or all!!

Continue checking our website for new postings, articles and information.

Kind regards
Bryce
President
Asociación Menorca Britannia

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