By Humphrey Carter

DONALD Gaffney, one of the founding members of Conservatives Abroad here in Majorca, who went on to become chairman of the local branch for over a decade, sadly passed away at the SAR Residencia in Costa d'en Blanes early yesterday morning. He was 89 and leaves behind his beloved wife Norma.

Tributes flooded in from the British and Spanish communities here in Majorca yesterday and the loss of “one of the grand old men of Majorca”, as Calvia Councillor Kate Mentink described him, was also felt at Conservative Central Office in London.

Current Chairman of Conservatives Abroad Majorca, Peter Newey, said yesterday that Donald “was fighting till the very end. Politics, the Conservative Party and Norma were his life, he was deeply passionate about them. “He's still a member of the branch, I have his new membership card on my desk. He was one of the founding members and chairman for over a decade. He really got the branch off its feet and worked extremely hard. “He was very highly regarded at Central Office, only the other week Lord Strathclyde asked how he and Norma were, and Donald was recognised for his dedication and commitment when presented with an “Illuminated Address” and also honoured for his “Outstanding Contribution to the Party. “As chairman, and through his relationship with the late David Wickins, he managed to secure some extremely high hitting Conservatives of the day such as Dennis Thatcher, Lord Archer and Jonathan Aitken. “In fact, it was thanks to the support of Donald and Norma that I first took over as Chairman,” Newey said. “He was my mentor... he was legendary.” “I will definitely be preparing a special tribute for Donald at our forthcoming 18th annual AGM,” he added.
Former member of Donald's committee, Pat Stone, and his former vice-chairman, Marie Robinson, were both deeply saddened by the news. Both had continued to regularly visit and help the couple. “He was a wonderful person, did so much for the party, the British community as a whole will miss him,” said Pat Stone. “It's a great loss for the whole expatriate community which for years he served in many ways, not just as Chairman or member of Conservatives Abroad, “I loved him very dearly,” said Marie Robinson. Ray Fleming said: “Donald was a perfect gentleman. He and I differed fundamentally on politics but he often called me about my most recent comment on the Conservatives to suggest in the politest way imaginable that I perhaps had not got things quite right. Our conversations invariably ended in laughter. He was a tireless and dedicated worker for the Conservative cause that he believed in so strongly. I admired him greatly.” But, as Kate Mentink highlighted, Donald was known Majorca-wide and, as chairman, dedicated a great deal of time and effort to developing a close relationship with the Spanish Partido Popular centre-right party.

He would hold monthly meetings with the late deputy mayor of Palma, Joan Bauza, and was a close friend of the former Mayor of Palma, Joan Fageda, who is now a PP Senator in Madrid. He too was deeply saddened by the news. “He was such a gentleman, he had great presence but he was always very polite, very cooperative. It was a pleasure to have known him socially and to have worked with him. I will remember him as a close friend and close colleague.” For further information please contact Miriam Tallaa on 658 968 851.