Politicians sing for Spanish memorial

Banbury Labour councillor Mike Beal ENGNNL00120130513111925
Banbury Labour councillor Mike Beal ENGNNL00120130513111925

Politicians from Banbury will be among a host of entertainers at a concert being held to fund a memorial to mark the sacrifice made by Oxfordshire volunteers during the Spanish Civil War.

Guitarist Cllr Mike Beal and baritone Cllr John Christie, both Labour councillors on Oxfordshire County Council, are teaming up with violin player Sue Christie to play at the event in the West Oxford Community Centre on October 3.

“Thirty one men and women from Oxfordshire and Oxford University went to Spain during the Spanish Civil War of 1936 - 39 to support the Popular Front Republican government against General Franco’s rebellion which was supported by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy,” said Banbury area organiser John Haywood.

“They joined 50,000 volunteers from around the world who formed the International Brigades organised by the Comintern to compensate for the policy of the ‘non intervention’ adopted by European countries and who fought alongside Spanish forces loyal to the government.

“Not all went as soldiers. Many went as ambulance drivers, stretcher bearers, nurses, doctors, medics and administrators. Six of the 31 Oxfordshire volunteers were killed in action.”

“The International Brigade Memorial Trust (IBMT) is a charity established to inform people of the vital and heroic role played by the British volunteers in defending liberty and democracy in a world moving rapidly towards world war in the 1930s,” said Mr Haywood.

“There are hundreds of monuments throughout Great Britain and Ireland commemorating the volunteers from local areas and a local IBMT group has been raising funds for a memorial to the Oxfordshire volunteers, next to the First and Second World War memorials in St Giles, Oxford.”

Mr Haywood said the committee hoped the statue would be unveiled next June.

The Banbury musicians will perform a selection of Spanish and English songs at the concert. The event also features the Cuban-style big band Ran Kan Kan and the Sea Green Singers.

Mr Beal, representing Grimsbury and Castle division, Banbury said: “Anyone who gives their life for politicial causes in another country deseves to be commended.

“We did a similar event last year. It was very hot weather and and it was absolutely packed so we’re hoping for a good turnout again this year.”

Tickets are £10 from John Haywood on 07785 235715.