The 2017 New Year’s Honours List includes a familiar name for British residents in southern Spain. The former editor of SUR in English, Liz Parry, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to British nationals living in Andalucía.
Honours lists are published twice a year, on the Queen’s official birthday in June and at New Year, and recognise extraordinary achievement and service to the UK. The Queen awards the honour after submitted nominations have been reviewed by an honours committee.
A statement issued by the British Embassy in Madrid said that her “outstanding achievements” ensured that Liz stood out among the many nominations for this year’s New Year Honours list.
“I was amazed and delighted to get the call from the Ambassador asking me if I would accept an honour,” Liz told SUR in English on Friday. “I am extremely grateful to whoever nominated me or wrote letters in support of the nomination.”
The Embassy also stressed the important role Liz has played, through this newspaper, in helping British nationals to integrate into Spanish society and avoid some of the potential problems that moving to another country might present.
Liz points out that this contribution is summed up by the slogan she came up with when the newspaper’s staff were discussing what they believed SUR in English stood for: Linking Communities.
“If I have contributed to a greater understanding, solidarity and that wonderful Spanish word ‘convivencia’ among the international community in southern Spain, then I am immensely grateful to have had that opportunity, and proud of what the newspaper has achieved,” she said.
Liz, who retired earlier this month, joined SUR in English in 1985, just a year after the newspaper was launched in 1984, in response to a need among the English-speaking community for reliable information in their own language.
During her more than 30 years of service, Liz went from translator and assistant editor to editor before taking partial retirement at the end of 2013. For the last three years she has been the newspaper’s consultant editor. Under Liz’s command, the weekly paper grew from 3,000 copies and 24 pages to 50,000 copies and an average of 72 pages.
“I want to thank the people at Prensa Malagueña who entrusted the SUR in English project to me, particularly the current Director of Publications, Pedro Luis Gómez, and Juan Soto, and also the many people in the international community who have supported the newspaper - and all the great professionals who have worked on SUR in English over the years and shared the vision of a newspaper which ‘links communities’,” Liz added.
Another British resident in Spain, Roger Cooke, latterly President of the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain and resident in Madrid, has been included in the New Year’s Honours List. Roger has been appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to British business in Spain and British-Spanish trade and investment.
The British Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, said: “I am delighted that the achievements of Liz Parry and Roger Cooke have been recognised by Her Majesty The Queen in this way, whether it be Liz through her distinguished journalism and consistent promotion of Britons’ integration into Spanish society, or Roger and his leadership of the British Chamber, our principal partner in strengthening a €46 billion bilateral commercial relationship”.
An active member of the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) in Spain since 1992, Roger Cooke took on the non-remunerated post of president in April 2012, at the height of the economic crisis.
During his presidency, Roger not only ensured the stability of the operation but revitalised the institution, dedicating a significant amount of his personal time to build stronger relationships with external partners, such as the Spanish government and major British companies operating in Spain. Having stepped down as president of the BCC earlier this year, Roger remains committed to promoting relations between the UK and Spain.
He is an active member of the British Hispanic Foundation, an organisation which promotes cultural links between the two countries, and a strong supporter of the British Benevolent Fund, a British charity which supports British nationals in need in Spain.