If someone told the designers of the Marbella congress centre that one day it would be filled with hundreds of people of different nationalities rolling dice and drawing insects on pieces of paper, they would have probably laughed in their face.
Rotary Marbella-Guadalmina achieved just that last Saturday, however, when 312 people answered their calls to help break the Guinness World Record for the most people playing beetle at the same time. The existing record was for 252 players and the target had been set at 256 (a beetle drive is played in groups of four). With 312 players through the gate, the record seems in the bag, although the organisers stress that the result has to be ratified first by Guinness.
The biggest feat of the day, however, was the organisers' success in raising funds for local charities. A total of 9,500 euros were raised, committee member Campbell Ferguson told SUR in English this week. Of this, 6,000 will go to Rotary Marbella-Guadalmina's chosen charity, the AFA Alzheimer's association, and the rest will be shared among other NGOs.
The event had the enthusiastic support of Marbella town hall and was attended by the head of the Foreign Residents Department, Oti García, who played her part as one of the stewards.
The support of the local council in fact had helped attract a large cross section of the local community to the event, with a range of different nationalities and ages.
No one knows how many of the participants in the congress centre on Saturday had played the game before - perhaps only those of a certain age with fond memories of British family Christmases.
However instructions provided in English and Spanish beforehand, as well as a practice run, with the help of Nicole King of Marbella Now TV, soon had everyone throwing a six for a head.
The winner of the game overall, and recipient of the golden beetle, was schoolboy Niels Nielsen. The second and third places were taken by Nicole Rodríguez and Herenia Valverde.
"We are all very happy," said Campbell on behalf of the committee. "It was great to see so many smiling faces." He went on to express the club's thanks to the town hall as well as to sponsors Spence Clarke & Co, Ibex Insurance and EFPG Raine International, as well as other supporters.
Refreshments were provided throughout the afternoon by staff from The Hogan Stand, who donated part of their takings to the cause.