A British expat with an ardent passion for history has published an English-language book about the history of Fuengirola, the town where he has lived for the past 20 years. The book, which was presented at the Salón Varietés Theatre last Saturday, is called Fuengirola Revisited, and it reveals how the events of the past 3,000 years have contributed to the town's rich historical tapestry.
The author, Patrick Meehan, who was born in Herne Bay in 1958, has a degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology, which he acquired while studying at the University of Kent.
His love of local history inspired his new book, which began to bear fruit after an incident that happened in 2017. Patrick's daughter and her husband were due to visit that Christmas. Patrick's son-in-law also shares a love of history, so Patrick had assembled a collection of information to give him a sense of the importance of the location. However, due to problems at Bristol Airport, their flight was cancelled.
"Everything I had planned was suddenly cancelled and the question arose of what was I going to do with all that research I had prepared. Had that plane landed safely, this book may never have materialised," Patrick explains, smiling as he recalls the incident.
The book takes the reader on a journey through time. It includes informative chapters on the influence of the Romans, Vandals, Visigoths and the Moors, as well as concentrating on important events like the Battle of Fuengirola, the installation of the railway line and the advent of tourism. The cover of the book was painted by British artist Teresa Henry, who attended the presentation.
The text is complemented by a collection of 50 photographs and a copy of a 1970s map created by British artist John Drummond, who lived in the town for 50 years.
However, Patrick did not at first realise the scale of the project he had undertaken.
"I didn't realise there would be this much work involved. I thought I would complete it in six months, but it actually took almost three years," Patrick says.
The book was published by Costa Women, a group founded by Patrick's wife Ali, who said she was "extremely proud" of her husband. Both Patrick and Ali expressed their gratitude for the amount of help they had received from the expat community, and the town hall, who supported Patrick "wholeheartedly".
Deputy mayor Rodrigo Romero Morales, who is also councillor for Foreign Residents, expressed his gratitude at the presentation.
"This is the first time a British citizen has written a book about Fuengirola. The Spanish are not normally very proud of their history. We don't normally look back. The expat community have always shown an interest in our history, so, in the name of the town hall, I would like to say thank you to Patrick for helping us understand ourselves," Romero Morales said.