“To have been able to play a part in the integration of the international community has been a privilege and a great pleasure,” said former editor of SUR in English, Liz Parry, as she received her British Empire Medal on Thursday evening.
The medal, awarded by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and announced in the New Year’s Honours List in January, was brought to her in her home city of Malaga by the British Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley.
Liz explained that she was “stunned” when she received a call from the ambassador at the end of last year asking if she would accept the award in recognition of her services helping British residents in Andalucía.
Outside the UK, the British Empire Medal is presented by Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the country, and Liz was given the choice of a presentation at the ambassador’s residence in Madrid, or one held locally. She opted for a ceremony in Malaga, her home for the past 38 years and headquarters of SUR in English which she says was her “second home” for most of that time.
“I am delighted to present this award to Liz as recognition of her many years of hard work helping British citizens in Andalucía. Liz has rendered a great service to the United Kingdom,” HMA Simon Manley said in Malaga on Thursday.
Liz expressed her gratitude to the person or persons who proposed and supported her nomination for the award, for recognising “the role played by SUR in English in fomenting integration and the difference it makes to the international community to have a reliable source of information about Spain.”
“My reaction was also one of gratitude for all the circumstances which enabled me to play my part in ‘linking communities’: a slogan I felt best identified the purpose of SUR in English, and the mission I held dearest throughout my time there,” she added.
Liz Parry, 65, who retired from her role as Consultant Editor of SUR inEnglish in December, was born in Salisbury (UK) and moved permanently to Spain in the late 70s. She started working for the publishers of the Spanish daily SUR and SUR inEnglish in 1985 as collaborator and translator and went on to become editor shortly after.
Under her leadership, the free newspaper grew from 24 pages and 3,000 copies to an average of 72 pages and 50,000 copies printed every week.
Prior to this week’s presentation ceremony in Malaga, Liz was invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace at the beginning of June.
“I went with my daughter, and we were incredibly lucky with the weather!” she says. “It was a lovely afternoon, with bands playing, and both the Queen and Prince Philip making an appearance. And the sandwiches and cakes were superb!”
Liz is also founding member and Vice President of the Costa Press Club and is on the board of the EnglishCemetery Foundation in Malaga.