Gary Burr – President Giving4Giving

Gary Burr - Giving4Giving Credit: Gary Burr

Meet London-born Gary Burr, who has been living in Spain for the past 24 years and making a real difference to the community.

Hailing from Hackney, a real-life ‘Eastender’, Gary is the only child of May and Stan.  He grew up in the 60s and after leaving school, trained as a chef, working in a variety of restaurants in London.

Then, as Gary explained, “Having married my childhood sweetheart at a young age and then separating after six years, I decided I needed to take my life in a new direction.”

This led to him getting in contact with friends in America and making the bold decision to move to San Francisco in his late twenties.

Life was good, and after a few years, Gary put his catering skills to good use by opening a British bar and restaurant with a friend. The establishment thrived and is still operational today.

Romance finds Gary again, this time with an American girl named Eloise, who becomes his second wife. Sadly, he lost her to cancer in 1997, which led to him coming back to the UK.

After just two years, he concludes, “I no longer belonged there and was at a crossroads. With an aunt living in Spain, I decided to start afresh and moved to Benidorm.”

He was very taken with the climate, relaxed lifestyle, and feeling of safety.  The only challenge, as might be expected, was the language, but the friendliness of the people made it worthwhile to overcome this barrier.

How did Giving4Giving originate?

Over the years, Gary has felt the pain that comes from losing loved ones to cancer: his wife, mum, grandmother, best friend, aunt and even two beloved family pets.  However, he turned this angst into an opportunity to be part of the fight.

“When my aunt left me a substantial amount of money, I opened Giving4Giving – a charity shop in aid of cancer, located in La Nucia.”  While the Shop was a challenge initially – with the support of a volunteer called Linda – he turned it around.

So much so that he was able to open subsequent shops to bring the total up to six, as well as a separate furniture warehouse. He now uses the income from these additional shops to support other worthwhile charities in Spain. With a seventh one shortly opening in Albir, Gary is optimistic about the future.

When not running his soon-to-be eight businesses, Garry likes nothing better than to relax at home with his three dogs or to spend time socialising with friends.

As he reflected on his life and what brought him to Spain, Gary had this to say:” I think Spain is a lovely place to live and would recommend it to anyone, but at times it’s not easy. I have no regrets about moving here, and if I’d not come here, I probably wouldn’t be doing the work that I love.”

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Written by

Donna Williams