Joan Hunt contemplated the garden she had created with emotion. Before she died two years ago she expressed her satisfaction and gratitude at how Malaga society had adopted the foundation that she started as a palliative care organisation 31 years previously - Cudeca Hospice.
Joan died in 2021 but there's no doubt that today she would be moved at how her garden was being tended and was growing. Especially on Tuesday when the stage at the Edgar Neville theatre in Malaga was filled with sunflowers for the second Joan Hunt awards, organised thanks to the provincial authority (Diputación) and the Cudeca Hospice Foundation.
As the recently reelected president of the Diputación, Francisco Salado, said on Tuesday, "We created these awards to keep the legacy of Joan Hunt alive and to represent the broad and diverse society of Malaga province."
On the stage full of sunflowers, the symbol of palliative care, the awards ceremony, designed to recognise the contribution of the foreign community to Malaga province, was hosted by journalist Belén Martín. "More than 300,000 people from other countries live among us; they make up 17 per cent of the total population of Malaga," she said.
Speaking on behalf of Cudeca Hospice, the foundation's president, Ricardo Urdiales, stressed the work of the 1,200 volunteers, many of whom are foreign residents: "What's more, the foreign community has always helped Malaga to grow in cultural and economic development."
Seven awards were handed out on Tuesday in recognition of the generosity of the foreign community in Malaga province.
The Solidarity award went to Malaga's English Cemetery Foundation. It was collected by the foundation's president, Bruce McIntyre. "We want to thank all the people who have worked tirelessly for their support," he said.
'One in a million'
In the Communication category this year, the recognition went to Talk Radio Europe for its contribution to the local community. The prize was picked up by the radio's director Martin Nathan, who worked closely with Joan Hunt and came up with the 'one in a million' slogan. On receiving the award, Nathan stressed how Talk Radio Europe was set up 15 years ago as a "community radio" and that its philosophy was the same as that of the Rotary Club of which he is a member: "service above self"."Working with Cudeca has been a exiting project," he said, "It's been good to have been part of the One in a Million Campaign. We have received more than we have given," he added.
The following category, in the name of the Diputación's own brand label for local products, Sabor a Málaga, saw the recognition of Bodegas Kieninger. Accepting the award was Martin Kieninger, an Austrian architect who arrived in Ronda in 1998 to set up the family winery. "When I arrived 25 years ago the warmth and joy with with I was welcomed by the people was incredible," he said.
This friendliness of the people of Malaga also entrapped Georgina, the Venezuelan singer who received the Joan Hunt award in the Culture category. After several years in Madrid, she chose to settle in Benalmádena and start her family there.
"Here I started the most important project in my life, being a mother; my baby was born here so she is a 'boquerón'," she said, referring to the nickname given to the people of Malaga province.
The singer-songwriter then performed two of her songs, one of them accompanied by violinist Luisa Faraguna and bassoonist Federico Sánchez, musicians from the group Delastillero who accompanied the prizegiving throughout the evening.
The Business prize went to the Marbella Dutch Business Club and was collected on their behalf by Cudeca Foundation trustee Liz Parry.
Reading the words written by the president of the club, she said: "We are proud of our social activity, very happy to be one of the organisations that support the work of Cudeca."
"Child of war"
In the Diplomatic Work section it was the Ukrainian embassy-consulate in Malaga that was given the award.
Consul Svitlana Kramarenko reminded the audience that Joan Hunt had been a "child of war", having been evacuated to the countryside during the second world war.
"Thank you to the Malaga community for taking in the Ukrainian families and children who flee Russian fascism," she said.
Finally the Municipal Initiative prize went to Torremolinos town hall and was collected by deputy mayor Marta Huete. "The 'paradise' as we call Torremolinos, would not be the same without its people, wherever the come from," she said.
As the president of the Diputación, Francisco Salado, said to close the event: "To me they are not 'guiris' they are 'malagueños' and they make us a better province."
Source: SUR in English