Beverley Thompson, Treasurer and Vice-President of cancer charity in Spain
Beverley Thompson, Treasurer and Vice-President of MABS Cancer Support has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to voluntary charitable work in Spain.
Beverley Thompson first started volunteering for a small branch of MABS in Mazarrón (Murcia) after moving there in 2005.
After the charity’s accountant left, Beverley stepped in and within a short time was looking after the accounts for MABS across Murcia province, and has acted as treasurer ever since – one of the core team of three running the foundation.
She had overall responsibility for the purchase, design and opening of the MABS respite home on Camposol in 2018.
The home provides 24-hour respite and palliative care to cancer patients in Murcia and, thanks to Beverley’s tenacity, is now eligible to apply for annual grant funding for the running costs from the regional government.
“Whilst MABS does not exclusively support British nationals, they fill the gap for many of my compatriots, who do not have family nearby to help them during a very difficult time,” British Ambassador Hugh Elliott said.
“That all this is done on a purely voluntary basis is quite extraordinary and a testament to the dedication of Bev and all the MABS volunteers.”
Larry Yaskiel, magazine editor and former music industry executive in Lanzarote
Larry Yaskiel, who founded one of the oldest English-language publications in Spain, has also been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to the British Community in Lanzarote.
Yaskiel moved to Lanzarote in 1981, in search of relaxation after a hectic life in the music business, where he contributed to the success of many top names.
However, needing an outlet for his creativity and ambition, he soon established the Lancelot Island Journal, a quarterly magazine, which quickly became a valuable source of information for British residents; helping them to integrate into island life.
Larry also used the magazine to share his knowledge of the connections between the UK and Lanzarote, which have proved a valuable resource for both British and Spanish students, and led to his 2018 book “The British Connection to Lanzarote and the Canaries”.
Some of the most fascinating links include the numerous references to Canary wines in Shakespeare and his theory that La Graciosa is the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”.
On World Tourism Day in 1994, the President of the Lanzarote Cabildo presented Larry with the Distinguished Services to Tourism Award.
“Larry has an unrivalled understanding of the connections between the UK and Lanzarote, which he has shared in his articles for over 20 years, as well as in his landmark book,” UK Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott said.
“Larry has also been a great support to our consulate in Las Palmas, building relationships with Lanzarote decision makers and acting as a spokesperson for the British community.”
Brandon Jones, Founder of Gay Sitges Link and Sitges English Theatre Company
Brandon Jones, founder of Gay Sitges Link and Sitges English Theatre Company, has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to the British Community in Sitges, in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, published on Thursday 2 June 2022.
The longstanding co-owner of Casablanca cocktail bar, Brandon is a stalwart of the LGBTI+ community in Sitges.
He invests much of his time and energy into a variety of local charitable and cultural projects, often using the bar as the venue for his fundraising efforts.
In 1999, Brandon founded, and later became Chairman of, The Sitges English Theatre Company. In 2011, he co-founded Gay Sitges Link to provide help and assistance to the LGBTI+ community, and with his support it has grown exponentially to offer emotional, psychological and legal support, rapid HIV testing and social activities.
He is also a key proponent of cultural interchange. In 2012, he launched the Irish-Catalan Festival in Sitges, celebrating Irish culture and bringing over 700 visitors from the island of Ireland each year. And, building on this success he launched the Welsh-Catalan Festival in 2019, promoting historical and cultural links between Wales and Catalonia.
“Brandon is a true cultural ambassador and his annual festivals have strengthened links between the UK and Spain; in particular between Wales and the island of Ireland, and Catalonia,” UK Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott said.
“But it is for his pioneering charity work with Gay Sitges Link that Brandon most deserves to be recognised. The association’s motto is “The Pride of Creating Community” and Brandon has been key to making that happen – bringing together like minded individuals to create a resource for the community, including the tens of thousands of LGBTI+ visitors who come to Sitges each year.”
Heather Muntaner, former headteacher of Queen’s College Majorca
Heather Muntaner, headteacher of Queen’s College for 30 years, has been awarded an MBE for services to the promotion of British education, language and culture in Spain, in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, published on Thursday 2 June 2022.
During her 30 years as headteacher, Heather Muntaner made Queen’s College one of the flagship British schools in Spain with many students going on to study and work in the UK, and a raft of successful alumni, including Luis Vidal, the architect for Heathrow Terminal 2.
As well as academic success, Heather instilled a strong sense of values at Queen’s College and the school has directly supported over 20 different charities helping vulnerable British and Spanish people.
Alongside her full-time role, Heather was an inspector of British schools in Spain for many years under the National Association of British Schools in Spain (NABSS) inspection system. For almost a decade she made a significant, and entirely voluntary, contribution to the NABSS Executive Committee, initially as secretary and later as a member of the Inspection Monitoring Committee.
“It is thanks to the work and dedication of people like Heather that British education is so well regarded in Spain.” HMA Hugh Elliott said.
“I know that not only is she adored by her former staff and pupils, but she is highly respected by the local and regional authorities, who turn to her for advice on the teaching of English.
“She has also worked tirelessly to promote wider British values, language and culture at every opportunity.