ON A lovely Summer’s evening, with the doors wide open, St. Luke’s Church, Palhagueira, Sta. Bárbara de Nexe, was filled to capacity for Evensong, led by Rev. Eric Britt, for the Royal British Legion’s celebrations of the 60th anniversary of VE and VJ Days’ ending of World War II (WWII).With the church decorated with massed red, white and blue blooms and with the sounds of the congregation singing the 23rd. Psalm and the British National Anthem floating across the countryside, the scene could have been any church in any village tucked away in the UK, celebrating this joyful occasion.
But the service had its sombre moments too. Tribute was paid through prayers, hymns and a sermon to those who had lost their lives, or suffered, not only in WWII, but succeeding wars since that one ended. Emotion ran high when John Goodfellow read the poem, “I Do Not Know Your Name, but I Know You Died”, especially for those who saw active service during WWII. Many of the older generation shed a tear as the words of the poem brought back memories of those dark days.
It was with obvious pride that those who had served in WWII brought out their decorations and medals to wear at the service, and especially proud were widows who were displaying their husband’s decorations.
The service ended with Rev. Britt announcing thatSt. Vincent’s Chaplaincy was donating the Collection to the Royal British Legion.
Following the service, there was a celebratory dinner for members of the Royal British Legion at La Piazza in Sta. Bárbara de Nexe, which was supported by Angelo Bucciero, the proprietor. Other sponsors included: Don Giovanni’s, Bentley’s Bistro, Jardim de Vale – all from Almancil, ACC Butchers of Santa Bárbara de Nexe and Rod’s Hair Salon at Palhagueira, which raised a further ¤320 for the Legion.
Harry Warner – Membership Secretary of Algarve Sub-Branch of the Royal British Legion.