Written by Mrs Janet Barkway
Promising sunshine started Malta Day U.K on the 3rd September 2016 .
As we walked down to the fair from Westminster Cathedral The Wokingham Band were playing in the street finishing with both the National Anthems of Malta and U.K. It was particularly poignant that there was much melodious singing for both from the Maltese awaiting the fair being opened officially by H.E. Mr Norman Hamilton.
Inside the fair the band continued to play and were joined by the choir ”T
he Maria Therese Vassallo Studio Choral Group" from Balluta Bay. One member told me the ladies were enjoying the shopping in London but perha
ps not their husbands! They had travelled on Thursday from Malta and hoped she would not get lost in the vast hotel they were staying in. They also had a visit to Aylesford Priory planned and to sing in a concert there.
Noticeably there was a queue for the Pastizzi/cheesecake stall also many around the tombola manned as usual by the two stalwart Maltese ladies. It was certainly very well attended.
The Mass at the Cathedral was already filling up as we walked to our seats with the choir singing.
H.E. Mr Norman Hamilton H.C. For Malta in the U.K . Welcomed the congregation and as usual Faith and Heritage was the theme and he urged the Maltese people when away from the Maltese shores to flourish and grow in their host country.
His Excellency Mgr.Charles J. Scicula, Archbishop of Malta, delivered a homily sprinkled with some humour regarding his short stature and standing in the centre so we all had a view of him. He offered his sincere thanks to the members of the Order of Malta attending. He recalled the years of WW2 that our grandparents would remember with mixed emotions. He continued that it is important to be proud of Malta's heritage given the good name of Malta and the special relationship with the U.K.
There were five bidding prayers and one read by own Captain Jack McNulty veteran and S.E. Member of the G.C.I.A.
The Hon. Christopher Fearne MP, minister for Health Malta addressed the congregation towards the finish again the ties between Malta and the U.K. we're very much the theme. The biggest tie to the British society was the continuation of the treatment of four hundred patients a year treated in the UK sponsored by the Ministry of Health Malta he amusingly recalled the 4 years he spent in the UK when he drank more Kinnie beer and ate more cheese cake than in the twenty years that he has been back in Malta! Such is heritage.
The procession then commenced with the Statue of the Bambina into the Cathedral Square.
As you may guess the similarity between Malta and the U.K. was temporarily halted as umbrellas were needed, yes it rained on the parade! Spirits however were not dampened as the inevitable very noisy fireworks resounded in the square complete with the red paper “confetti”
Thank you to all the organisers for inviting us to be part of your very special and exceedingly friendly day and making us feel so welcome. We eagerly look forward to next year.