David Long came to live in Spain in 1994 and he has since become known for his charitable nature and for his determination to help English-speaking senior citizens who live on the Costa del Sol. Born and reared in Dublin, David was one of the founding members of Age Concern Fuengirola/Mijas (which today includes Benalmádena), a charity that plays a very special part in his life today.
David began his career as a motor mechanic, but he hated the fact that he always had "dirty fingernails", and so he became an apprentice salesman for one of the main car dealers in Dublin. This would be a trade he enjoyed for almost 15 years.
The 82-year-old Irishman has nurtured a lifelong passion for motorcycle racing: from 1957 until 1982, he would win ten Irish championships. It was at the beginning of his racing career that he met his first wife.
His interest in motorcycles started as a teenager when he bought his first motorbike, which cost 37 pounds. David still owns a motorcycle, although he does not ride anymore: his thrill now comes from watching the motorcycle Grand Prix in Jerez de la Frontera.
"I love to watch the Spanish motorcycle Grand Prix and this is something I will always have a passion for. It will never leave me. I still own a Suzuki, but I haven't ridden it for about five years. I would love to throw my leg over a bike once more, but I'm getting a little old for that now: I suppose one day I will have to sell it," the softly spoken Dubliner explains to SUR in English.
David teamed up with a friend who was also an avid motorcycle fanatic and the two opened their own workshop. This was a partnership that would last from 1968 until 1985, when they decided to sell the business. Following the sale of his company, David started visiting Spain.
He bought a bar in Fuengirola, which his wife ran, but David stayed in Dublin to run a squash club he had also purchased. It was during this time that the marriage began to break down and the couple parted company.
In 1994, David decided to leave the Emerald Isle and move to Los Boliches, where he met his current wife, Carol.
Carol's brother-in-law introduced David to the Masonic Lodge 96 in Fuengirola in 1998. Carol's first husband, who died in 1991, was one of the people responsible for setting up the first English-speaking Masonic Lodge on the coast. David is currently the Director of Ceremonies, and he has been Master of the Lodge twice.
"Becoming a Freemason is probably the best thing I have ever done. I was interested because it helped you make yourself a better man. Of course, it has changed dramatically and it is no longer the secret society it once was. It is a society with secrets, not a secret society," he says with conviction.
David also opened a business that supplied frozen foods to local restaurants. The company began to thrive because of David's business etiquette and it soon became one of the most popular suppliers on the coast. David sold the business in 2009 in order to retire, although putting his feet up was not an option for the energetic Irishman.
David soon became restless and in 2014, he joined the forerunner of Age Concern Fuengirola/Mijas as a volunteer driver. The group met regularly, but David soon realised that it would need a name behind it, so they contacted Age Concern Spain, and the Fuengirola/Mijas branch (www.ageconcernfym.com) was born. Today he is president of the association - overseeing two of the weekly drop-in centres and assisting with fundraising and social events. The nerves of steel acquired during his racing days have proved beneficial to the charity's fundraising efforts. In 2017, David was one of the oldest people to participate in the cross-border zip wire challenge.
At the moment he has no plans to retire and is quite happy, and proud, to continue in his role as president.
"I feel absolutely honoured to be president of Age Concern. We have an excellent team who all work together to achieve our goal, which is to help and assist the English-speaking senior citizens. One of the prime aims of our charity is welfare. Welfare is very important and that is what Age Concern is all about," he concludes.