A proud moment for the IBMT in Oxford, 10th June 2017
For many years, volunteers in Oxford and the neighbouring county have been raising funds to set up a memorial to the fighters who went from the city and neighbouring areas to fight fascism in Spain in 1936/7.
After a series of speeches from Paul Preston, Richard Baxell , Carmen Negrin and others the previous evening, the memorial was unveiled late Saturday morning in a prominent position near the Headington Hill/South Park area.
The organisers had honoured us with an invitation to perform some of our Spanish Civil War related material at a commemorative evening event in the West Oxford Community Centre, just along the Botley Road from where the city station is. We were, naturally, happy to oblige. It was nice to see that a number of our friends from the IBMT had stayed on after the unveiling of the memorial to come along to the evening’s celebrations.
Following a powerful rendition of La Pasionaria's farewell speech to the International Brigades in Barcelona by two of the local volunteers, we kicked the musical part of the evening off with around 35 minutes of songs and tunes and were pleased to receive a warm round of applause at the end. Later that evening there was flamenco dancing provided by Camino del Flamenco and some cool salsa and mambo grooves from the serried ranks of local salsa band, Ran Kan Kan. Since I was driving, I couldn’t take advantage of my bottle of Brigadista Ale whilst at the venue. However, it is in the fridge now and I’m looking forward to quaffing it in due course.
Many thanks to John Haywood for the invitation to participate in the celebrations and many congratulations to him and all of his fellow volunteers in managing to raise the funds need to provide a fitting memorial to all those brave men and women from Oxfordshire in the late 1930s.