"Mijas is a better place for her life here." This was how Rev Dave Hodgson summed up the legacy of Karen McMahon, the former Mijas TV presenter who died recently after a long fight against illness. The pastor of Calahonda Church was speaking at the memorial mass held at the Church of Santa Teresa de Jesús in La Cala de Mijas on Tuesday evening.
Members of the international and Spanish communities filled the church to accompany Karen's parents, relatives, friends and colleagues for the service, led by local priest of La Cala, Juan Baena.
Among them were the British consul for Andalucía, Charmaine Arbouin, vice-consul Rosslyn Crotty and honorary US consular agent Bobbye Aaron, as well as representatives of international organisations such as La Cala Lions, Soroptimist International, Costa Women, Costa Press Club, Age Care, Age Concern and the Mississippi Coast Line Dancers.
Representing the local council was acting mayor Juan Carlos Maldonado as well as councillors, staff at the Foreign Residents Department and Karen's colleagues from the municipal broadcaster Mijas Comunicación.
Daphne Theunissen of Soroptimist International Costa del Sol, the women's organisation to which Karen belonged, spoke fondly of the popular personality, recalling her good nature and love for high-heeled shoes and dancing.
Born in 1973, Karen had lived in Spain for more than 20 years, first working at Bookworld España in Fuengirola, before presenting the English-language programme on the local Mijas television.
Refreshments were served after the mass at the local cultural centre where the Mississippi line dancers performed.