Multitalented Welsh national Cath John has earned a reputation as being one of the most popular and considerate expats in Benalmádena. As well as being known to many as the face behind the bar of one of the oldest Welsh pubs in Benalmádena, Cath is also involved with a popular local theatre group, and is lauded for her incredible vocal talent, which she uses to raise funds for worthy causes.
The 48-year-old entertainer has many strings to her bow and when she is not occupied with any of the previously mentioned activities, she concentrates on her duties as president of the Costa del Sol Welsh Society.
The Welsh Society was founded in 2011 by a small group of expat musicians and entertainers who came together with the goal of raising funds for local and national charities, while also promoting all things Welsh.
So far, the organisation has raised over 15,000 euros for different charities: these have included the Positively Pink and Positively Blue cancer charities; the Ty Olwen Hospice in Swansea; Downs Syndrome associations in Spain and in Wales; and the premature baby unit in Malaga. More recently, Cath has been involved in a series of fundraising events to support the family of a local expat who is suffering from motor neuron disease.
"The Welsh Society was formed to promote our culture here on the coast. We hold different functions, like St David's Day, to raise funds for our chosen charity. We like to choose charities that are close to our hearts, and these have included some very personal causes," Cath tells SUR in English.
Cath was born in Bettws, Bridgend (South Wales), in 1972 and studied at the Bryntirion Comprehensive School. Her father owned a butcher's shop in Bridgend, and so Cath went to Cardiff College for two years in order to study butchery. She worked in the family business for seven years, before heading to Spain with her parents and younger sister in order to start a new life in the sun.
Passion for entertainment
Cath acquired a passion for the performing arts at an early age. Her mother was a member of Porthcawl Operatic Society, and it was not long before Cath made her debut on stage.
"I always had an interest in music and theatre. My first time on stage was in Fiddler on the Roof. Although I was fascinated by it, there was not very much opportunity to do anything else in Bettws at the time," the bubbly singer explains.
Cath arrived in Benalmádena in 1995. Her family bought a cabaret bar, which they called CJs, and it was here that Cath would embrace her love of singing.
After a few months, Cath met Ian, the man she married in 1999. After several years of trying for a family, Cath fell pregnant with her first child in 2004. The following year saw the birth of her twins, and in 2007, the couple's fourth child was born.
"All of my children love music, but only two of them are interested in doing it for a living. Ben, one of the twins, wants to be an actor. Bobby, my eldest, wants to be a singer, dancer and actor. He currently performs with the Jersey Boys," the proud mother says.
Cath's children have had the perfect coach to help them follow their dreams into the world of showbiz. All of them have been involved with the Banana Studio Theatrical Group, a group founded by Cath and her sister Hannah. The company teaches youngsters between the age of four and 21 dancing, acting, singing and performance skills, working towards offering live shows at local events and charity functions.
"With four children interested in music, it was going to be expensive to enroll them in local drama and dancing schools, so we decided to form our own club," Cath explains.
Voice from The Valleys
Known as 'the voice from The Valleys' because of her powerful vocal quality, Cath has become a popular entertainer on the coast. She also fronts the Soul Sisters, a tribute to soul and Motown.
"The Soul Sisters consist of some of the older girls from the Banana Studio group. I am very proud of the girls. Even if they don't become professional performers, they will have had a great experience," Cath concludes.