- Posted by Jonny hough
- On December 20, 2014
By Laura Gran
Over 150 members of the BritishSpanish Society celebrated Christmas at the Instituto Cervantes on Thursday 11th December.
The atmosphere was cordial and relaxed, full of laughs and lively conversation, with many open to meeting others for the first time. The food, served by Hispania, was delicious and a good example of Spanish produce. In summary, the party was a success in all ways. Beyond that, it was an excellent opportunity for members to meet again and celebrate Christmas with “family”. In his welcome address the Ambassador Federico Trillo-Figueroa explained that “we all share the same values and roots” and congratulated Chairman Jimmy Burns Marañon and his team for their achievements.
Mr BurnsMarañon described the Society as a “bridge of friendship, meeting and dialogue. We want to describe what we do as a large family meeting for British people who love all things about Spain and for those Spaniards living in London and in need to feel at home.” Perhaps this explains why the organisation has grown so quickly in the last four years, to more than 650 members.
For the coming year the goals of the Society are to keep growing and to organise more events to cater for all ages. Raising funds for the scholarship programme is also a top priority, said Mr Burns, “because it gives the opportunity to Spanish and British students to investigate in different fields”. In terms of professionalism, the plan is “to keep doing what we are good at, in honesty and transparency. We are all volunteers with a high working speed.” The spirit of the Society is being “solid, passionate and reliable in the way we do things and the service we offer to our members”.
Approaching its centenary in 2016, the Society is fortunate to have excellent sponsors who believe deeply in the value of the organisation. One of them is the University of Navarra, whose Admissions Director, Álvaro Balibrea, thinks that the BritishSpanish Society is “a good forum” to be in touch with people who live in London and have roots or a relevant connection with Spain: “The relationship is always profitable; there is an exchange of views, help and mutual collaboration.”
Awards were presented for the best article written in this year’s editions of La Revista, the official magazine of the Society. The prize is awarded by the University of Navarra in partnership with the BritishSpanish Society, and on this occasion there were three finalists. Mr Balibrea presented the awards on behalf of the university. The overall winner was Spanish writer Nuria Reina Bachot for her article entitled ‘Roberta, Peter y Phyllis’, recounting her experience writing the first ever Spanish translation of the British children’s literary classic, The Railway Children. Two finalists were also awarded certificates: Tomás Hill López Menchero and Bess Twiston-Davies.
After that, a group of members sang some Christmas carols, conducted by Maite Aguirre. This was followed by a raffle organised by Carmen Young, full of brilliant prizes generously donated for the occasion in order to raise funds for the Society.
Next year the Christmas party will be the precursor of the activities commemorating the 4th centenary of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes’ deaths, which were both in 1616. It will be also the last activity until the Society’s own centenary celebrations that same year.
The British Spanish Society would like to thank our sponsors and all of those who kindly donated prizes to the raffle.