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Friends of Tenerife celebrating 25 years of care 

I couldn’t have asked Bill Rutherford at a better time to tell me about how the Friends of Tenerife first saw the light of day.

He has just finished his memoirs so I got this by return.

“One morning in 1992, we invited two good friends, Keith and Maria Worwood, who lived close by, for a coffee and a chat.

During the chat we dis-cussed the possibility of finding a way, in our leisure time, to give some help to the local El de Madre nursing home in the village. It was well known that it was financially underfunded, relying on donations and other support for its efficient ope-ration.

With the help of the community in and around the village, we raised enough funds to employ a solicitor who, eventually, in 1993, made a successful application for a registration certificate, issued by the local government, for a charity to be formed.

We decided that an appropriate name for the charity was Friends of Tenerife, as it was being organised mainly by the British residents. Various forms were completed by the lawyer proving to the satisfaction of the authorities that this was a properly-constituted charitable organisation and we were issued with a registered number.

We then appealed locally for members to join us and in a very short time we had enough people to form a committee consisting of a chairman, secretary, treasurer and five other members.

Dawn, my wife, was elected treasurer and she designed the logo, which is still displayed on all paperwork and advertisements associa-ted with the Friends group. I was elected secretary.

It was a non-profit orga-nisation designed to help people on the island who were disadvantaged and in need.

Over the remaining five years that we lived in Tenerife, the Friends went from strength to strength, organising regular functions in bars and other venues, raising large sums of money which we distributed to deserving charities on the island.

After the first successful year, our attention was drawn to a hospice in Santa Cruz, which treated and cared for children up to the age of 14 who were suffering from cerebral palsy. We found that the hospice relied to a large extent on public charity and fund raising to survive and were receiving only 30 per cent of what it actually needed.

We published their plight in a local newspaper, the Tenerife News, and had a wonderful response. As a result of the publicity, funds were raised, not only to cover the running costs of the hospice but also to buy them additional physiotherapy equipment.

We were informed that the equipment could be purchased a lot cheaper in England than in Spain. Luckily, we were also able to negotiate with a shipping line to send the goods from Swansea to Santa Cruz free of charge.

Not short of initiative we contacted the island’s professional football club, CD Tenerife, and, as a result players made regular visits to the hospice, signed footballs to be auctioned at future organised social events and even made financial con-tributions themselves.

When I look back on what the organisation achieved, and the work being carried out by an increasing number of volunteers, I realise just how very rewarding it was.

Indeed, I would like to pay tribute to and say a big thank you to all those who continue to work hard for the Friends.”

In the next issue, I’ll be asking another honorary member about their expe-riences with the F.O.T.

Ken Fisher (President)

Forthcoming Events

February 27th Coach Trip to Playa de las Americas calling at Iceland on the way back to get our Easter Eggs. We meet at the Botanical Gardens in La Paz at 11.15 and arrive back around 6.00pm. A great day out for €10. All welcome.

Tuesday March 20th Lunch at El Padrino (La Paz) 1.00 for 1.30. €18.

For information and reser-vations please phone Maureen 922 34 19 79 or Jean 922 38 48 09