Charles Betty. Migue Fernández
Charles Betty MBE, Briton who worked to improve expat lives on the Costa del Sol, dies aged 100

Charles Betty MBE, Briton who worked to improve expat lives on the Costa del Sol, dies aged 100

The Lancashire-born former war hero and education expert helped set up Age Care and the first volunteer translation service after retiring to Benalmádena

SUR in English


Friday, 3 November 2023


Much-loved and influential British resident on the Costa del Sol, Charles Betty MBE, passed away in the UK today (Friday 3 November).

Charles was 100 last June and had taken part in the D-Day landings in 1944, where he was wounded. After retiring from a busy career in education, Charles and his wife Eileen settled in Benalmádena. Here they became an active part of the expat community and devoted much of their time to helping Britons and other foreign residents integrate into Spanish life. Charles was responsible for setting up the volunteer medical translation service in Benalmadena, realising the vital need to give clear information in English to the growing number of foreign residents using the public health service. He was also one of the founders of Age Care on the Costa del Sol, which is still going strong today.

Charles hailed from Fleetwood in Lancashire. He left school with few qualifications and served with the Welsh Fusiliers during the Second World War - taking part in the beach landings in France. Charles met his wife Eileen when he was recovering in hospital after his injury - she was a nurse. Just before he was demobbed, he saw an announcement on the mess noticeboard calling for trainee teachers. He applied and went to teacher training college for a matter of weeks before graduating as a teacher. Charles went on to become a headmaster and published a range of educational material.

When Charles and Eileen retired to Spain, he quickly became a vocal advocate for the older British population on the coast. In later life, Charles did not stop making an impact either. At the age of 95, he became the oldest person to graduate from a British university with a PhD. His research work examined the experiences of older Britons returning after living in Spain. Well into his 90s, he also became one of the founding members of the Support in Spain directory website to help signpost vulnerable foreign residents to relevant information.

Charles was awarded the elite French Legion d'Honneur for his wartime service as well as an MBE for his services to the British community on the Costa del Sol.

After Eileen passed away in 2019, Charles spent more time in the UK, although he always thought of Benalmádena as home, and visited the Costa del Sol as much as he could.

Charles is survived by three of his children and by his grandchildren.





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