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The Welsh-born Costa pioneer had lived in Spain since 1964
08.07.15 - 14:14 -
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Joan Davies, founder of SUR in English, dies aged 85
Joan Davies, in a photo taken in 2005. SUR
Joan Davies, who founded SUR in English with her husband Gerry in 1984, died in Benalmádena on Tuesday. She was 85.
Joan was born Elizabeth Diane Joan Hughes in November 1929 inCoventry, England. The Hughes family returned to their native Wales, to Pwllheli, when she was just two years old.
She went on to train as a teacher and worked in Manchester and Cheadle Hulme before meeting Gerry Davies while on holiday inWales in 1955.
“He was 22, charming and very handsome,” wrote Joan in her memoirs ‘Memories, musings and more...” published in 2013. Within five days the couple were married.
After living in Wales for several years, with stints in London and Paris, Joan and Gerry moved to Spain in 1964 and lived in a fisherman’s cottage in Los Boliches.
Gerry worked as a distribution manager for the Daily Mail in Spain, a job that took the couple briefly to Madrid. Joan was accredited by the International Press Association and contributed to the newspaper her husband helped to distribute.
The newspaper industry was by then under their skin, although after settling definitively on the Costa del Sol they made entertaining their lifestyle and their business.
On the Costa del Sol they ran a restaurant, a bar and a pub and hosted grand parties at their Calahonda home.
It was in 1984 that Joan and Gerry stepped back into the world of the media when they approached the publishers of SUR with a proposal for an English-language newspaper. On July 20th of that same year the first edition of this newspaper, SUR in English, was on the streets.
Joan’s knowledge of, and connections with, the foreign resident community on the Costa del Sol helped her fill the pages of the newspaper with facts and faces, as well as local, national and international news.
Colleagues at SUR have fond memories of Joan and Gerry, who turned up at the head offices in Malaga once a week, typewriter in hand.
During those early years of the paper the couple worked hard to establish the newspaper that started with just 16 pages.
Their faces became known along the Costa del Sol and inland, as they attended countless functions - celebrities included - and sold advertising as they went.
After Gerry’s death in 1995, Joan continued to write for the newspaper for many years, keeping the pages stocked with facts, faces and her popular recipes.
Later life brought travel and extensive trips to Australia, America and other destinations. However, Joan never really retired from journalism and continued to contribute to SUR inEnglish until 2007.
In 2002 Joan founded the society Welsh Roots, bringing together people who shared her love of her homeland.
In 2009, Joan was given an honorary Communicator Award by the Costa Press Club, of which she was Honorary President until her death.
In July 2014, she was presented by directors and editors of SUR and SUR inEnglish with a silver ‘biznaga’ flower to mark the 30th anniversary of the newspaper.
In December, following a stroke, she moved into the Oasis residential centre in Benalmádena Costa.
Joan leaves five sisters and two brothers.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday July 11th at 6pm at the Cementerio Internacional de Benalmádena.


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