Community Awards

The Rotary Club of Gibraltar held its annual Vocational Award Presentations and Speakers Party recently at the Royal Calpe.

The Rotarians offer these annual awards in recognition of people in our community worthy of special attention. The three awards presented on the evening covered the categories of, ‘a young person’, ‘a civil or public servant’, and ‘an Elder’.

Also joining the gathering were many of the Speakers who come along to Rotary weekly meetings and help make these so interesting. Over the course of the last twelve months the Club has had the pleasure of being enlightened on a wide range of subjects, too many to mention!

Hosting this year’s event, Jennifer Stentiford, President, said ” Thank you for giving up your time to come and talk to us. You have all been wonderfully interesting and we are pleased that as a Club we have been able to help some of the charities and organisations you support. A toast to the Speakers”.

She then went on to introduce the first award of the night. The Youth Award. “This year’s recipient is Ben Donohue” Mrs Stentiford announced.
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Ben was kindly nominated for his selfless dedication to raising money for the Jamie Inglis appeal. Ben took on a challenge that culminated in him swimming 166 lengths of the Europa Pool as part of a two person fundraising effort that raised £10,000 in aid of Jamie Inglis. To complete this swim Ben had to train in excess of 35 accumulated hours. This required a great amount of self-discipline and dedication for an eight year old boy. In addition to this, Ben fulfilled this task for Jamie Inglis, sufferer of Neuroblastoma without
knowing or meeting him. Ben is an asthma sufferer himself and has shown great sacrifice, dedication, compassion and a selfless commitment in fulfilling this charity fund raising activity and in doing so is deserving of recognition for his efforts.

The Civil Servant Award was presented to Marie Carmen Santos from Social Services Agency.
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Marie Carmen was transferred to the Agency on promotion to Executive Officer. On her arrival she found the accounts/personnel department in complete disarray with hardly any systems in place. There were practically no systems in place and there were always complaints about wrong wages, tax deductions, pensions, leave entitlement wrong rotas and a long etc., There was such a mess that the previous EO who had been transferred there preferred to lose the promotion and revert back to her old position as she could not cope with the work involved.

Marie’s transfer was at the beginning of the summer hours yet whilst everyone left to go home at 2 30pm Marie soldiered on till late trying to put things right. Marie had an uphill job but she never gave up. Higher ranking officers, fellow civil servants, social workers or care workers would come for queries etc. and she always attended them in a polite manner always trying to help them and advising them of their best options.

Marie managed to put in I.T. systems for salaries, tax deduction, calculation of pensions etc., She was also indispensable for the end of year accounts and its her system that is still being used presently. Marie also created a personnel section ensuring all staff details, leave records contracts etc., were always up to date. At the same time Marie would teach all she knew to subordinate administrative workers to try to ensure that once she retired the new systems would be kept in place.

It would take too long to explain all the work that Marie has done but suffice it to say that when the Care Agency was created Marie was again at the helm trying to amalgamate the different areas. As anecdote, she was pleasantly surprised to find no other agencies had systems as thorough as hers.

Marie Santos could have retired two years ago at 60 but the then new Chief Executive asked her to stay on for a further two years to help with the amalgamation. Marie stayed on still working late hours, always taking work home but polite and helpful to everyone who asked her for help. For this reason we are pleased to present her with the Rotary Club of Gibraltar Civil Servant of the Year Award.”

The final presentation was the Joe Gaggero Honoured Elder Award. This award is presented to an elder member of our community who continues to offer help and support to others within the community, mainly through voluntary work, and we hope by doing so, they keep themselves young.
So, the person who this year received the Joe Gaggero Honoured Elder Award is Mr. John Stephen Barea.
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John has always had the sick and needy at heart. A strong minded caring individual, he has always put others before himself, particularly when they have been less fortunate in life.
Although he has always been a keen all round sportsman, he developed his keen love and passion for running in his mid-40’s. It was in 1990, at the ripe age of 60 that he took this to another level and decided to blend his enthusiasm for running with his need to help others and set off to run a marathon in Gibraltar for a worthy cause. He was the first Gibraltarian over the age of 60 to participate and complete a marathon but was even more delighted because he raised a total of £2, 250 in aid of the Gibraltar Society for the Handicapped.
A year later he took part with a team in the ‘ Run for Life’ wherein a total of 1,000 miles was run from Angouleme in France to Gibraltar and £10,000 was raised in aid of the Diane Aspinal Fund.
At age 62 he run the ADT London Marathon wherein he raised £3444.74 for sick children at Great Ormond Street, London. Once again, he was the first Gibraltarian to have participated and completed this marathon in the UK.
In March 2011, at the age of 81 he launched the production of the documentary “The History of Gibraltar” in DVD format which he compiled himself, and which he donated all proceeds of the sales of the 1,000 DVD’s produced to local charities namely, Cancer Research UK (Gibraltar Branch) and the Psychological Support Group.

The Rotary Club also had a few donations to make. The first one being to Clare Borrell from Women –in – Need. Each year the club donates Christmas presents to the children in the home, also, they give a sum of money to help them with their Christmas festivities. Additionally, this year a further cheque for £250.00 was received a little too late for Christmas.
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On April 6th Rotary held a car boot sale to raise funds for The George Pusey Memorial Fund which has been set up in memory of the late George. The cheque was handed to Phil Cartwright, trustee of the George Pusey fund.
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The last donation went to Jinson Lima who took part in the spring edition of The Maroc Challenge in March to raise funds for an automatic defibrillator for Calpe House. A cheque for £250.00 was given towards the purchase of this very worthy cause.
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The evening ended with everyone enjoying a buffet dinner and drinks.