Author Archives: Charlie

The British Embassy Launches New Website – Health Care in Spain

healthcare in spain

The British Embassy in Spain in conjunction with The Department of Health, backed by funding from the European Union, have launched the website It contains lots of information, in English, on how to access healthcare in Spain whether you are resident here or just visiting. It is also very easy to navigate and has many useful contact details.

The website is managed by The Healthcare Team at The British Embassy. This is a small group of individuals that give advice to British Nationals on how to access healthcare in Spain. If you have an enquiry you can contact them through this website , or by calling 902 109 356.

Don’t delay check the website out now and make sure that you are fully up to date with the Spanish Healthcare.

Thank You to All Who Attended The Last Night of the Proms Concert

2014 Concert 3The third annual fundraising concert took place on Wednesday 22nd October with the theme this year being The Last Night of the Proms.

The British Benevolent Fund of Madrid hosted the event with sponsorship from Mahou and the Bodegas Martúe.


concert programmeMusicians, trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London travelled to Madrid to play well known pieces from operas and musicals followed by songs and hymns usually played at the last night of the Promenade Concert in the Royal Albert Hall, London. Musical pieces by Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, Sullivan and Bernstein were amongst the chosen music followed by Jerusalem, Rule Britannia! And Land of Hope and Glory. (Please click on the icon to see the Concert Programme with full details of the evening’s music and the musicians)

2014 Concert 2An almost full house at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, courtesy of Sr. Javier Blas, enjoyed the concert followed by drinks and nibbles where the audience was able to meet and chat with all the musicians. A raffle took place during the reception and the many donors of prizes were thanked for their generosity.


2014 Concert 1The musicians worked with the Head of Music at Runnymede College, La Moraleja Tanya Balashova to perfect the choir of Runnymede College and who accompanied the soloists at the concert. For Rebecca Taylor, accompanist and musical director it was her third visit to Madrid in support of the British Benevolent Fund of Madrid. This year she was accompanied by Ross Scanlon, an Irish tenor and Anna Sideris, soprano.

Together they made a wonderful evening for the audience with many asking when will the next concert take place.

The British Benevolent Fund would like to thank all who attended the concert, and participated in the raffle, and we hope to see all of you again at next year’s concert.

2014 concert 4 Rebecca Taylor-Accompanist chatting with audience

Shiela Stewart, Ann Chapman, Shirley Lavadera and Helen Leese Arabella González-Head of Finance and Resources & Gillian Flaxman OBE-Head of School British Council

El Concierto y Coctel – Oct 22 2014

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El Fondo Benéfico Británico de Madrid (British Benevolent Fund, o BBF) es una Asociación benéfica cuyo fin es la prestación de ayuda económica y de otra índole a personas de nacionalidad británica que sean residentes o que se encuentren sin medios en la Comunidad de Madrid, o excepcionalmente fuera de dicha Comunidad pero dentro del territorio español. La Asociación depende totalmente de donaciones del público y empresas. Su Presidente de Honor es el Embajador de su Majestad Británica en el Reino de España, el Excelentísimo Señor Simon Manley CMG.

Con el fin de recaudar fondos para cumplir con su misión benéfica, el BBF organiza este año, una vez más, un «Concierto y cóctel» en la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, en Madrid, el día 22 de octubre. El tema del Concierto será el de:


o Última Noche de los Proms inspirado en los famosos Promenade concerts (en castellano: paseos musicales) un ciclo de conciertos diarios de música clásica orquestal, que tienen lugar anualmente desde mediados de julio hasta mediados de septiembre cada año en el Royal Albert Hall de Londres. La Última Noche de los Proms, en muchas ocasiones referida por su nombre original en inglés, the Last Night, es el concierto que anualmente cierra el ciclo del festival.

En el Concierto organizado por la BBF participarán tres músicos profesionales que estudiaron en la Real Academia de Música de Londres: Rebecca Taylor, Ross Scanlon y Anna Sideris, y serán acompañados por el coro del Colegio Británico Runnymede de La Moraleja baja la tutela de su Profesora de Música, Tanya Balashova. Se espera la asistencia de unos 250 espectadores pertenecientes a la élite de la sociedad anglohispana de Madrid.

Se realizaran interpretaciones de canciones tan clásicas como O Mio Babbino Caro, el coro de Humming Bird, La Boheme, West Side Story, seguidas por una serie de piezas patrióticas británicas en la segunda parte del concierto, tales como Jerusalem (sobre un poema de William Blake) de Hubert Parry, Rule Britannia de Thomas Arne y el Concierto culminará con la Marcha de Pompa y Circunstancia nº 1 de Edward Elgar (Land of Hope and Glory).

Se compra entradas aqui o se puede comprar entradas en el lugar en la noche

MARGIT THEA ARTO 31st January, 1928 – 8th September, 2014

MargitMargit was a much loved and respected member of the British community in Madrid. Until the last couple of years before her death, she was extremely active and participated in many groups that occupied much of her time. In the last couple of years she experienced some physical ailments that slowed her down but she was frequently seen at events all over Madrid, and in her latter months with a walking stick. Always looking very smart and always courteous, she will be sadly missed.

She joined the British Benevolent Fund of Madrid committee in 1995 following in the footsteps of her mother Mrs Senta Wilmer, who was never on the BBF Committee, but who was a long time contributor and supporter of the Fund. Up until quite recently Margit actively contributed at committee meetings and always attended events to support the BBF. Her fund raising abilities were legendry, always selling more raffle tickets than any other committee member!

Margit read modern languages at Oxford University. She retained a deep affection for the university and St. Hilda’s College throughout her life. She was an active member of the Oxford University’s alumni society in Madrid, and later served as Branch Secretary until her retirement in 2010. She advised the University, and her college, during preparations for the university’s European Alumni Reunion events in Madrid in 2013.

Margit joined Runnymede College in 1973 and became head of French language in 1975, retiring in 2001. Madame Arto, as she was known, was loved by her pupils who still remember what an inspirational teacher she was. All her colleagues respected her integrity and her ability and courage to confront the challenges and disappointments that life invariably throws at us. She remained brave in the face of adversity and stoical when faced with injustice. These qualities never left her and her example afforded us one of life’s invaluable lessons: don’t back down under intimidation.

She leaves a son Carlos Arto who is a resident of Mexico City and a brother Gerald Wilmer, a nephew Christopher and niece Vanessa, all resident in the UK.

death of volunteer

BBF Sponsored Summer Fete a Great Success

BBF Stall
On Thursday 11 September the British Benevolent Fund of Madrid reached out to the English Speaking Community of Madrid, by holding a Summer Fete in conjunction with St George’s Anglican Church.


Designed to publicise what is on offer in Madrid in English, the late afternoon event hosted 34 stalls from a variety of community and social groups, local charities, clubs, pubs and sports teams, all with a common theme, the English language. Over 300 people attended, enjoying the convivial and vibrant atmosphere that prevailed in the Church’s Community Hall and the walled garden under the 200 year old fig tree.


ambassadorAmongst the guests was the Honorary President of the British Benevolent Fund in Madrid, the British Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley CMG, and the British Consul Madrid, Sarah Jane Morris. One of the highlights of the evening was a live performance by the International Gospel Choir who treated us to a superb rendition of several popular songs.

Remarkably this event was the first time such a comprehensive group from the English Speaking Community of Madrid had gathered together to promote their goods and services, and the British Benevolent Fund hopes to make it an annual fixture on the Madrid social calendar.

The full list of organisations that attended is as follows:

The American Club of Madrid
The American Women’s Club
The British Benevolent Fund
The British Cementary
The British Consulate and Health Team
The British Ladies Association
Cafeteria run by Maddog Tavern & Best of Britain
The Caledonian Association
FC Britanico
The Gospel Choir
The Hash House Harriers
Hiking in Madrid
The International English Speakers Group
The International Newcomers Group
Los Naranjas Hockey Club
Madrid Babel
Madrid Cricket
Madrid Lions RFC
Madrid Players
Madrid Scouts and Beavers
The Navy League Madrid
Netball Madrid
Red Deportes
The Scottish Country Dancing Group
The Soroptimists
St George’s Anglican Church
St George’s Guild
St George’s Mother & Toddler Group
Yoga at St Georges

Please check out the English-Speaking Community of Madrid facebook page and twitter feed for more information on all of the above organisations and other up coming events in English.

Facebook –
Twitter – @MadridEngComm

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Proms Night Raffle

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1€ – 1 ticket, 5€ – 7 tickets, 10€ – 15 tickets

Raffle to be drawn at the BBF Proms Concert & Reception on Oct 22nd 2014 at The Academia Real de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. Email to purchase your tickets or buy them at the event on the night.


1st Prize: A range of high end beauty and spa treatments worth 600€
donated by Armonía Centro de Estetica
3 ticket winners will be drawn to receive:
5 sessions of Diode Laser Depilation Treatments (400€)
2 x The Matrimonial Esthetic Treatment Pack: oriental rejuvenation treatment for her and a quiromassage with essential oils for him (100€ each)

2nd Prize: 400€ worth of free dental treatments
donated by Dr Ian Daniel at Cisne Dental
3 ticket winners will be drawn to receive:
1 x Tooth Whitening Session (200€)
2 x 100€ vouchers

3rd Prize: A fantastic range of golf prizes worth over 300€
Donated by Golf Canal and Nuevo Club de Golf Las Matas
7 ticket winners will be drawn to receive:
1 x Two Golf Green Fees (100€)
3 x Professional Golf Classes at Golf Canal (50€ each)
3 x Gift Vouchers of to spend at Golf Canal (30€ each)

4th Prize: A Mary Kay Home Beauty Session with a free Mary Kay beauty pack worth 300€
Donated by Mary Kay Consultant Veronica Gonzales Caceres
1 ticket winner will be drawn to receive this prize.

5th Prize: Free Spanish Tax return – declaracion de la renta – worth 120€
Donated by Madrid Solicitors
1 ticket winner will be drawn to receive this prize.

6th Prize: A Food Hamper – worth 110€
donated by Sabores del Mundo
1 ticket winner will be drawn for this prize

7th Prize: Set dinner for two with wine valued at around 100€
Donated by Milu Gastrobar
1 ticket winner will be drawn to receive this prize.

8th Prize: A 100€ voucher to spend at The British Corner Shop
Donated by The British Corner Shop
1 ticket winner will be drawn to receive this prize.

9th Prize: Ian Gibson books personally signed by the author worth 100€
Donated by Ian Gibson
3 ticket winners will be drawn to receive one autographed book each.

10th Prize: A VIP Transfer within Madrid in an E Class Mercedes valued around 100€
Donated by Iberian Chauffeur
1 ticket winner will be drawn for this prize

11th Prize: A Spanish Artesan Doll ‘Pepa’ valued at 87€
donated by Tienda Asi Madrid
1 ticket winner will be drawn for this prize

12th Prize: 2 Craft Beer Crawls (29€ each) and two Wine Tasting Trails (32€ each)
donated by
4 ticket winners will be drawn for this prize

13th Prize: Afternoon Tea for Two at The Ritz – worth 65€
donated by The Belmont Ritz
4 ticket winners will be drawn for this prize

14th Prize: A meal for 2 at Restaurant Puerto Lagasca
donated by Restaurant Puerto Lagasca
1 ticket winner will be drawn for this prize

Other great prizes include a range of luxury goods valued at over 100€ donated by The British Embassy in Madrid including: a print of Buckingham Palace, a Thomas Lyte leather electronic tablet holder, Thomas Lyte leather bound notebook, a variety of coffee table books. Plus various other sundry prizes.

cisne dentalArmoniaGolf

Tienda Asi british corner shop madrid solicitors GOV-UK-WEB Picture1

iberian chauffeurmary kayenglish warehouse

puertolagascasabores del mundoritz madrid

An Update From The Chairman


There is a time to decide things!

During 2012 and the beginning of 2013 the Executive Committee of the British Benevolent Fund of Madrid (BBF) recommended to its donors at the Annual General Meeting in May 2013 that it should become an Association, under the Spanish “Ley de Asociaciones”.

It could have easily folded. It could no longer function as a private entity and the easy route would have been to distribute the assets to charity and close it down.

But your Committee decided by moving to an “Asociacion” it would provide a new platform to make the BBF more professional, more accountable to our funders and clients and give us the freedom to pursue corporate funding.

With the continued support of H.M. Ambassador and the various Consulates in Spain the BBF is now easier to approach for help and to obtain a prompt response. There is the small fact that it has existed since 1933 and the knowledge that many people over a very long period of time have worked tirelessly to help British citizens in need.

As times change so must the BBF. Your committee has grown with younger professional people becoming involved. There are planned events to broaden the awareness of the work being done and to make it easier for British people in the community who need assistance to come forward. In addition, people who wish to be involved and contribute are very welcome. There is much to be done!

The development of the website provides a way to communicate our activities and for people to contact the BBF and I would encourage you to follow us to see what is going on.

Please join me and the Committee to make things happen.

This is the time to decide on things!

Stewart Cusden, Chairman

Annual General Meeting of The British Benevolent Fund 2014

IMAG0142The AGM of the British Benevolent Fund of Madrid was held at the Residence of H.E. Mr Simon Manley CMG on Wednesday, 28th May 2014 and the Annual General Report can be found by clicking on this link. The BBF welcomed its Committee and many of its supporters to the Ambassador´s Residence and the outgoing Chairman, Robert Grant thanked the Ambassador for his kind gesture to host the event.

IMAG0144The formal proceedings took place including the approval of the Minutes from the previous year and the reading of the Annual Report by Robert Grant also available on the website.

A review of the Audited Accounts took place by the Treasurer, Charlie Wilson and he pointed out the number of individual subscribers had fallen in 2013 and that the BBF had been involved in rather more repatriation cases from Spain during the year. The level of costs, however, remained very similar to 2012.

IMAG0145This AGM in other respects was quite different to those of previous years as it included a proposal to transform the BBF into a Spanish `asociacion´. The Committee of the BBF recommended this at the AGM so that it would have an independent legal entity and no longer operate under the auspices of the British Embassy. To this extent the AGM was a landmark occasion and it was wonderful that Patricia Rigge and her son Simon could be present as well as Winifred Young and Mickey Wildman, representing the William Allen Young Charitable Trust, long time donors to the BBF.

Alex Pitts, legal adviser to the BBF Committee outlined the process that would take place over the next few months to register the BBF and the motion was approved so that the process can start. The point was made by Alex that as far as possible the new articles will follow the existing statutes, so that the BBF may continue to support the British community in Spain in the same as it has done for the past eighty one years or so.

IMAG0147One difference will be the formation of an Advisory Council which the Ambassador has agreed to chair. This body will provide help and guidance to the Executive Committee over a wide area of activities and there will be more to report on this moving forward.

The large number of people who attended this year are thanked for their attendance and their continued support.

Robert Grant who will be moving to the USA for business reasons has had to step down from his role as Chairman. Robert has been instrumental in setting the BBF on this new path and he will be very much missed. His wise and steady hand was very much appreciated by those around him and his involvement in getting the BBF this far, quite frequently from a distance, is a testament to his commitment to ensure the BBF thrives in the future.

The Honary President, Simon Manley closed the meeting and the group socialised on the terrace and in the garden of the Residence.

Concert and Drinks Reception, Oct 22nd 2014

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Online Ticket Sales Now Closed
If you require tickets
Please purchase on entry at the venue

Raffle tickets can also be bought at the venue

The British Benevolent Fund of Madrid will once again be hosting their famous Classical Concert giving you the unique opportunity to hear musicians from the Royal Academy of Music in London, and featuring the Choir from Runnymede College.

This year’s concert theme is based on the ever popular:


With such classics as O Mio Babbino Caro, The Humming Bird Chorus, La Boheme, West Side Story and of course a rousing finale of Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory.

The concert will be held on:

October 22nd, 2014

at the


After the concert there will be a reception, at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes, where you will have an opportunity to meet with artists. Food and drink will be served sponsored by:

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Mahou San Miguel WebsiteBodegas Martue Website

A night not to be missed!

English-Speaking Community Summer Fete – Sept 11th 2014


A celebration of all the great and good the English-speaking community of Madrid has to offer. Whether you are new to Madrid or have lived here for some time, this is a great chance to see what is available and get involved.

Our stalls will include something for everyone with organisations representing many nationalities and covering a wide range of activities including: social groups, sports events, community groups, children’s activities and charitable organisations.

There is something for everyone whether you are a native English speaker or looking to improve your English speaking skills. All are welcome

Food and drink will be available.