By British Benevolent Fund •
Published: 02 Dec 2023 • 12:21
The British Benevolent Fund was founded in Madrid over a century ago to help Britons in Spain in extreme financial difficulties. People with no resources, and no family or friends’ network available.
Since then BBF has expanded to work across Spain with partner charities from www.supportinspain.info and the British consular network to find solutions wherever possible.
A recent case was of a man in his 60s who came to live in Spain some years ago but who hadn’t done his residency by the time of the Brexit withdrawal agreement and found himself without any medical or state support in the event that something would go wrong.
He was not unduly concerned by this as he had funds to afford private medical cover and had lived all over the world without needing to use any state services.
Everything changed over the pandemic when he discovered to his horror that he had been the victim of a giant ponzi scheme fraud that affected him and the money that he had “invested” had disappeared along with the handsome “dividend” that he had been living off for some time.
He was ruined.
At first he decided to stay in Spain, downsized to a cheaper apartment and started looking for work.
Then came the body blow.
He was diagnosed with a late stage cancer and was not able to work.
He used the remaining savings to pay for treatment but it was impossible.
He was not eligible for Spanish state support – though he was able to find a charity that would help him navigate to be registered as he had lived here before the 2020 deadline.
But in the meantime, he was dying.
There was no option but to return to the UK and hope that he would be eligible quickly to receive treatment on the NHS.
He had no funds but was able to stay short term with a relative while his application was processed.
The BBF was able to pay for emergency medication and his repatriation so that he could receive treatment.
It is hoped that he will make it and be able to live off the state pension – a far cry from the high life of Marbella but at least safe and secure to enjoy his later years.
If you would like to help him and many like him with a donation please visit www.britishbenevolentfund.org. Thank you on behalf of the many. Olaf Clayton Chair, BBF
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Olaf Clayton is the chairman of the British Benevolent Fund and shares the charity's expat stories with the Euro Weekly News every week
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