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Dedicated fundraiserAlan Boardman compering an event in Fuengirola last week. SUR
Alan Boardman: A driving obsession for supporting those in need on the Costa and further afield
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Alan Boardman: A driving obsession for supporting those in need on the Costa and further afield

The popular Mijas resident has gained an admirable reputation for his selfless efforts to help local charities and worthy causes

Tony Bryant

Mijas

Friday, 1 March 2024, 16:00

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There are many expat residents along the Costa del Sol who have gained admirable reputations for coming to the aid of those in need, and many of them give up their time (and in some cases, their money) to support the abundance of local charities and worthy causes. This dedicated community of fundraisers is responsible for organising all sorts of ingenious initiatives to support both Spanish and foreign associations. One British national whose name has become synonymous with fundraising is Alan Boardman, a Mijas resident who has raised thousands of euros with different platforms since 2020.

Arriving in Mijas from the UK with his wife, Jenny, in 2005, the 67-year-old retiree has since gained a reputation for his tireless commitment to helping others, and not just here on the coast.

Born in Chorley, Lancaster, Alan and Jenny were living in Manchester when they made the decision to come to Spain, a move that was prompted by Jenny's dislike of the weather.

Shortly after setting up home in Mijas Pueblo, the couple opened a souvenir shop in the village, and it was here that Alan gained his passion for helping those in need.

"Having had the shop for all those years in Mijas, I met a lot of people and I heard a lot of bad luck stories. I think because it has always been in my character, it needed a set of circumstances to bring it out. Now, I absolutely love doing it", Alan tells SUR in English.

His first project was helping run the Simply Surviving Facebook group, which he co-founded to support the Costa's entertainment sector at the height of the pandemic. The group organised various initiatives, raising thousands of euros to support artists and venues affected by the lockdown.

It was his passion for the town that instigated his Mijas Walking Tours group, which he also uses to raise money for local causes. Alan formed the group as the world was emerging from coronavirus and it has since raised more than 17,000 euros. He also raises around 1,000 euros each year with fun quiz nights, which he says he "really enjoys doing".

"Once the Covid restrictions were lifted, the reasons for the establishment of Simply Surviving faded away. But I realised that many of the local charities and associations had been left with serious financial difficulties. Seeing as my wife and I are both keen hikers, we decided to start the walking group in order to try to offer some assistance," Alan, who describes himself as "a bit of a philanthropist", explains.

Among the many organisations that have benefited from Alan's selfless desire to help others are Debra, Fundación Olivares, Age Concern and Age Care, Adintre and the Red Cross, as well as numerous animal charities like Donkey Dreamland and SEARCH.

"When I am choosing a charity, I always try to strike a balance between Spanish and foreign, and animal and human. Basically, as long as it's registered in the province, then they will be considered," he says.

Busman's holiday

However, Alan's charitable efforts, or "community work" as he likes to call it, are not confined to the coast. He used a recent holiday in West Africa to deliver four suitcases full of spectacles, pencils and crayons to the needy in Gambia. The items were collected during a campaign last year, and Alan is already planning a similar busman's holiday for next year.

Alan's current campaign, 'Copper-up for Cudeca', is an initiative that calls for people to drop off their "pesky little" one, two and five cent coins to different establishments along the coast.

But why does Alan do all this time-consuming work when he could just sit back and enjoy his retirement in the place he has come to love?

"Throughout my life I have always loved helping people. It taps into my character. I definitely feel a massive sense of satisfaction when we hit a set target. There have been times when I have been known to cry, because I know just how important it is all round," Alan concludes.

Information about Alan's upcoming fundraising initiatives can be found on his Facebook page.

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