SANTA Ponsa resident Robert Winsor has been awarded the M.B.E. for services to disabled children in Majorca. The award, which Winsor said yesterday he is delighted and over-the-moon about could not have been announced at a better time. This year he celebrated his 25th anniversary charity golf tournament which raised 156'000 euros for underpriviliged children in Majorca. Over the past 25 years, Winsor has held a total of 15 celebrity charity golf tournaments, eight in England and seven since he moved to Majorca nine years ago. He has now raised over 1.200.000 euros (net) for disabled and needy children in Britain and here in the Balearics. I was also very surprised when I was informed of this great honour, I never knew Britons abroad could receive such honours, he said yesterday prior to teeing off in a golf tournament on the island of Jersey. I am thrilled but the honour is not only for me, it is also recognises the very hard work and dedication my team of assistants have put into to organising the golf courses in Majorca, added. Probably most important is his partner Maria Laserne who is currently in touch with the ten Majorcan charities the money will be going to this year to discover what they need most. The Robert Winsor charity golf tournaments are now one of the biggest fund raising events in Europe and he admitted that he was thinking of bowing out this year. It's very tiring organising these events and I thought the 25th anniversary would have been a good point to stop. But, I can't now, we're now already starting to plan next year's - in honour of the M.B.E, he said yesterday.
Over the past nine years, Winsor has changed the lives of hundreds of disabled and underpriviliged children. We decided to start helping as many other charities as possible because of the huge amounts of money being raised. This year the money is also going to children with down syndrome, autism and the homeless as well as the disabled, he explained.
The fruits of his first Majorca tournament at the Real Golf de Bendindat, was a fleet of specially built electric wheelchairs for the severely handicapped. Since then, the charity golf tournaments have helped to provide a total of 79 wheelchairs, re-equip care homes, start an ever-growing fleet of customised mini-buses (Winsor has provided seven so far), provide vital disabled lifting equipment for swimming pools and bathrooms, toys, special gymnasiums, walking machines, medicine and clothes for abandoned children, special cancer treatment for an eight-year-old boy, water wheelchairs for swimming pools and the beach, hydraulic shower beds and mobile cranes to help lift disabled children into the baths and their beds. What is more, Winsor has established a dedicated group of top British celebrities and sporting personalities who return year after year to lend their support to his event. Jasper Carrott, Robert Powell, Jimmy Hill, Jess Conrad, Lance Percival, Kenny Lynch, who played in his first tournament in England in 1980, Stan Boardman, John Lodge and Mike England are just a few who have helped Robert Winsor bring a smile to the faces of hundreds of underpriviliged Majorcan children and their families. Real Bendinat golf director Jorge Pando proclaimed at this year's event that Winsor deserves a medal how right he was.
JUDY Arnold-Boakes came to live in Majorca 27 years ago and for the past 20 years has been helping the elderly residents hence why she has been awarded the M.B.E for services to the British community in Spain. Arnold-Boakes, who stood down as president of Age Concern España last year but continues as patron, yesterday dedicated her honour to all of Age Concern's volunteers in Spain. It's been a long time coming considering all the work the volunteers have done over the years and continue to carry out, she said but obviously I'm very pleased. Arnold-Boakes, who first got involved with the British community via ESRA, the association of English-speaking residents, help set up Age Concern España 11 years ago. Prior to that I was involved with an association called Oasis and various other charities helping the elderly here in the Balearics.
Age Concern España, which currently has 150 volunteers and five offices, three in the Balearics, one in Alicante and the fifth in Malaga, is primarily concerned with carrying for the over 50*s but obviously we never say no' to anyone if we can help it, she said. Age Concern España now handles some 15'000 inquiries and pleas for assistance every year from either elderly residents or people thinking about retiring in Spain. We provide all the help we can for residents in Spain and also provide fact sheets and information to those planning on retiring here, she said. Unfortunately, not as many would-be retired residents contact us before coming out here and some eventually come unstuck. But, that's why where here. It's tragic in a way that the over 50*s are left to fend for themselves, not just the British but most other EU nationals, when they decided to leave their country of origin and come to live in the sun. I don't think it's just the British government which should do more to look after the fortgoten generation' but all EU governments. Only Norway has the right idea, they have subsidised a care home near Alicante where there is a large Norwegian community, all European governments should be doing the same. I live in hope, we all do, but for now, all the volunteers are working extremely hard, some seven-days a week, to provide all the care and assistance we can, she said. Not only are people living longer, the cost of living in Spain is becoming more expensive and that in itself is causing problems for elderly residents who have been in the country for the past 20 to 30 years. Arnold-Boakes said they have one case involving a 97-year-old Briton on the mainland who is extremely ill but has run out of money. With the help of the Age Concern UK and other UK charities with which they work, they are trying to repatraiate him and get him into a care home in Britain. There's a lot of heart ache, but when we do resolve situations like this and bring a smile to someone's face as they lie in hospital or incapacitated at home, it makes it all worth while, she said. There are many problems elderly foreign residents come across in Spain and some do feel bitter about having been cast aside by the British government. We're not just talking about old war veterans but we're dealing with a generation which was never out of work, paid their taxes and national insurance - their only crime' being moving to the sun and many feel Britain has made them pay dearly for it.