The Valentines Weekend this year took on a new dimension. For the first time ever, the 3 Branches of the Royal Air Forces Association in Spain, and they are Costa del Sol (now encompassing Gibraltar), Costa Blanca, and North Costa Blanca, joined forces for a "Friendship and Comradeship" occasion. This was organised and coordinated by the Costa del Sol Branch who had booked the entire Tamisa Golf Hotel in Mijas Costa. Every room was occupied, with one or two guests staying for extra nights.
The weekend started with a Cava reception on Friday afternoon for the guests, many of whom had travelled down on the day. This was followed by a pre-dinner reception, a full Valentines dinner with entertainment and dancing until late. With the dining room decorated for the occasion, and all the guests in all their finery, the vision was delightful. With all the exchanges of stories, some very tall, the buzz was constant and the whole evening went off better than we could ever have expected. Add in a very good meal and the evening was complete.
Saturday daytime was, as expected, quiet. Most of the guests did "their own thing", visiting such places as the Picasso Museum in Malaga, or just sight seeing, and getting ready for another evening of food and drink. The hotel loaned us their minibus, which our Secretary Ron Sibbett drove and took 8 guests up to Mijas.
Saturday evening repeated Friday but with the "Grand Gala" theme and a different menu and entertainer. Needless to say that the pace was slightly more sedate but again the buzz etc was there. We were also graced on this occasion with the presence of Wing Commander Smith, the new CO of RAF Gibraltar. It was really nice to see so many members formally dressed complete in some cases with medals.
The hotel foyer was decorated with a RAFA display and the Standards of RAFA, and the 3 Spanish Branches. A professional photographer had been engaged for the weekend and he took pictures of just about everyone and he also video'd both evening events, working right through the night to edit and produce a video and photo dvd for many visitors to take away and have memories of the occasion.
To name all who were there is difficult in this article, and apologies to those not mentioned, but to mention a few, Bob Hunt, Terri Joy, Brian Todd and Fred Briggs represented their branches as Chairmen, and Bob of course also as the European Area Council Chairman.
This report would not be complete without a huge thanks to Ron Sibbett, Hon Secretary of Costa del Sol Branch, his committee and helpers, and of course the staff and management of the Tamisa Hotel. Their tireless efforts ensured a fantastically successful first time event. Long may it be repeated? Who knows? Watch this space.