Age in Spain Good Neighbour awards

Age in Spain Good Neighbour awards

Image of the Good Neighbour Awards logo. Credit: Twitter@ageinspain

Spain’s good neighbours have been rewarded by Age in Spain.

A language school that does more than teach language, a helpline for vulnerable women, and a support group for new arrivals in Spain have earned their organisers accolades in the Good Neighbour award scheme, launched recently by Age in Spain.

The scheme is designed to acknowledge the often-unsung heroes who go beyond the call of duty to help in their community. These awards were judged by an international panel and endorsed by the UK Ambassador to Spain, HMA Hugh Elliott.

Outright winner of the award was Lucia Miguel Bores who lives in Carrion de los Condes, in the middle of Spain’s meseta. Lucia was nominated for the Good Neighbour Award because the language school she started, Forum Idiomas, has become a portal for newcomers to Spain.

As well as teaching them language skills, she helps her students with the challenges of everyday life in a new country – whether it’s getting food and lodgings, making friends, finding a plumber, or making a tax return. She was nominated by a neighbour for going far beyond the remit of a language teacher.

Lucia is also determined to keep her municipality on the map and fight the depopulation trends seen in other remote communities, where infrastructure is, at best, second-rate. Working tirelessly to bring funding to the town for sports and cultural facilities, she has recently been elected to the town council.

There was a special commendation for Kay Rowbottom in Mojacar whose action during lockdown to help local women who felt isolated or vulnerable led to the setting up of an online support group – Kay Frances SturdygirlsRus. Beginning as a local group for Spanish women and incomers, it now has more than 1500 members throughout the world offering mutual support.

Though an incomer to Spain, Kay speaks fluent Spanish and has been able to liaise with authorities to get help when needed. Appeals on the group’s Facebook page have helped women who had lost their jobs and could not feed their families, elderly women who needed help in keeping their homes clean, and women facing domestic abuse.

Pat Love, one half of the ‘Love Team’ in the Loja area of Granada won a special commendation for the group she started for English-speaking migrants to Spain. With her husband, Peter, who passed away only a few months ago, Pat coordinated with UK Consular services in Granada and Malaga to help newcomers navigate their way through unfamiliar aspects of a new country.

The group she formed for these newcomers has met in a local hotel for 15 years and some of its grateful members – running into hundreds now – rewarded her with the nomination as a Good Neighbour – intended also as a tribute and eulogy to Peter.

In view of the number of nominations from people who had been helped while walking the Camino de Santiago, judges decided to make a special award to a Camino ‘Angel’. This goes to J Luis Nuñez and his wife Maria Cecilia Capelo.

They were nominated after helping an injured pilgrim who called their taxi service. Luis and his wife stayed with the pilgrim throughout her treatment, brought her home and took her to the station the next morning – all without any charge.

The grateful pilgrim nominated them for this award, saying: “Luis and Maria exemplify the love and kindness of the Spanish people being there whenever needed, showing true love and friendship to the world”.

All of the winners received their certificates from Age in Spain and commendation from HMA Hugh Elliott, who said: “These awards are a great recognition of the difference that so many people make to their communities and I was truly delighted to see the number of English speaking-nationals nominating their Spanish neighbours and vice versa”.

“The variety of ways in which people have, generously and compassionately, supported those around them is the very definition of neighbourliness. I am especially pleased to congratulate the winners of the Camino Angel Award, Luis and Maria”, Mr Elliott continued.

He concluded: Thirty-nine years ago, I met my very own Camino Angel, Lourdes Arnaiz, who gave me food, lodging and good company as I waited for my bicycle to ride from Burgos to Santiago de Compostela. So I know just how much the kindness of strangers can mean. Congratulations to all of them”.

Age in Spain can be found at:


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at