American expats along the Costa del Sol came together this week to acknowledge the Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations.
The Fuengirola chapter of the American Club of the Costa del Sol held a celebratory lunch at the Caribbean Mermaid bar in the port in Fuengirola on Tuesday.
The stars and stripes were out in force, as more than 20 members of the club, the first to be established on the coast, met to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and also to honour the club’s longest serving member.
Troy Davis, who celebrated his ninety-first birthday last Saturday, helped establish the American Club in Fuengirola in 1974, and the sprightly ex-serviceman is still active in the club today.
Troy is the last surviving original member of the club and for this reason his colleagues presented him with a special souvenir poster that read, ‘In Honor of Troy Davis – The last man standing’.
Born in Virginia in 1926, Troy first arrived in Fuengirola for a holiday with his wife in 1963. Following two tours in Vietnam, he returned to live there in 1972.
“When I first arrived here, there were around 500 Americans living in Fuengirola. I was approached by the American Consulate, who suggested that we start a club, seeing as there was nothing like it at that time,” Troy explained to SUR in English.
Aside from his long association with the club and the fact that it was July 4th, Troy had another reason to celebrate, because his daughter had flown in from Paris to help him enjoy the occasion.
The president of the Fuengirola chapter, David Kylen, spoke of his admiration for Troy: “Troy has been here since day one. He was one of the people who helped to establish the American Club here in Fuengirola, and so we are giving him an honorific gesture to mark his achievements this afternoon.”
The club has now been running for 43 years, although the members have dwindled over the last decade. The club had almost 600 members when it first began, but like so many expat societies along the coast, it struggles to entice new members.
Rosella Parmiter, former president of the Malaga chapter of the American Club, said: “All of the American clubs have seen a vast drop in their membership numbers, because many of the original members have either died, or returned home, and the younger generation is not too interested in joining.”
At present, Marbella and Fuengirola have around 30 members each; Estepona has approximately 60 and Malaga, just ten. The branch in Torremolinos closed down several years ago.
The chapters meet monthly for luncheons or dinners, usually with a guest speaker, and they organise special events at Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Fourth of July.