Category Archives: News

Christmas Appeal 2017

Dear Friend of the British Benevolent Fund,


Thank you for being with us and providing support to the BBF in 2017.

Over the past 12 months your donations have enabled us to help over 20 cases of British citizens who have found themselves in need or distress in Spain. We have been at the side of the elderly, the infirm, the isolated and the vulnerable to help them overcome their difficulties.

To extend our reach throughout Spain, the work of the BBF is carried out in conjunction with local partner organisations who are better placed to provide support and advice. The contributions you have made have been disbursed in various ways to ensure that timely assistance is provided.

Your support has provided emergency funds to British victims of crime who may have been pickpocketed or tricked out of their money. We have helped individual British citizens with paperwork so that they can begin to solve their homeless status.

Thanks to you we have helped several British people with mental health problems who find themselves in distressing situations. From the beginning to the end of this year we have worked tirelessly to uphold our values of care, expediency, impartiality and discretion.

We at the BBF depend upon voluntary donations to fulfil our vision of caring for British citizens in Spain with benevolence. We have successfully raised funds through our popular annual events and as our volunteer base continues to grow we are confident that fundraising will increase in tandem.

If you have made a donation during the course of this year, we thank you and hope you will be able to do the same in 2018.

For those of you who are donating for the first time, please note that any amount will be gratefully received and put to good use. Please click here to donate with your credit card or Paypal account.

The BBF is currently looking for volunteers with skills in marketing and publicity as well as event management. It needs these skills in order to make people more aware of what they do and reach more people in need. If you would like to contribute a small amount of time to help please contact the Chairman at

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Stewart Cusden


Classic Show Stoppers Concert!

On Wednesday 25th of October we celebrated our sixth annual fundraising concert in Madrid. This year’s event took place at the residence of Simon Manley, HM Ambassador to Spain and Andorra. The venue was perfect. On the night more than one hundred people enjoyed an elegant soirée in extraordinary surroundings, and thanks to their generosity and support we raised over €4000!

Guests began to arrive at 7pm and were greeted personally by the Ambassador and members of the BBF Executive Committee. The Vice Chairman of the British Benevolent Fund welcomed everyone to the concert and thanked the Ambassador and his wife Maria Isabel for hosting the event. The Ambassador spoke warmly about the good work that the British Benevolent Fund carries out in Spain. He thanked the classically trained performers who had travelled from the UK especially to perform at the event. Finally, he mentioned the supporters of the concert: Bodegas Martúe, Grupo Agora, Hays Recruitment Services, Iberia Express, Jemima Webster Catering, Mallorca Catering and Santamania Gin, all of whom made the event possible.

The first half of the show was filled with extracts from popular classical music pieces such as Papageno’s Suicide Aria and O Babbino Mio. Members of Runnymede School choir joined the stage for Abends will ich schlafen gehn and helped fill the room with song. Having young performers take part in the concert added a family feeling to the evening.

During the interval our host Simon Manley drew the raffle prizes, some of which were won by members of the audience to much applause. The rest of the winning numbers are listed here and we will be contacting the lucky winners over the next few days.

After the interval we were treated to hand-picked songs from popular musicals such as South Pacific and My First Lady. The performances were effortlessly stellar. The atmosphere was electric. We were swept away by a combination of song and music that was contagious! The final medley of Lion King sung by the talented Runnymede choir singers had some of us up on our feet. At the end of the evening the audience called out for an encore, to which the artists and choir happily obliged.

Drinks and delicious food were served afterwards in the garden. People mingled and chatted informally amongst themselves. Some guests took the opportunity to ask questions about the British Benevolent Fund’s role in Spain. The children ran around the garden happily and somehow found a ball to kick around. It was the perfect ending to a lovely evening.

Speaking afterwards Callie Stewart de Melendez, Vice Chairman of the British Benevolent Fund said: “Events such as this are vital in our efforts to continue supporting British citizens in Spain and we are very appreciative of all those sponsors who helped make the event happen and make it such an enjoyable evening”.

Showstopper’s Concert Raffle Winners

Please find below a link to the list of raffle prize winners drawn by HM Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, at The BBF Showstopper’s Concert held at the Residence on October 25th.

We will be contacting the prize winners over the next week to come collect their prizes if you do not hear from us please email us on

Raffle Prize Winner List website

Photo gallery Charity Reception Mallorca

Charity Reception Mallorca April 2017

Mallorcan pipes and drum welcome guests to Finca Son Mir

Her Majesty´s Ambassador to Spain & Andorra Simon Manley CMG, hosted a Charity Reception at Finca Son Mir in Mallorca on Thursday 20th April which raised in excess of €5000 for the British Benevolent Fund.

L to R: Stewart Cusden, HM Ambassador to Spain Simon Manley CMG, Dame Mary Archer holding BBF leaflet, Lord Archer and Lloyd Millen, HM Consul Barcelona

About 70 guests from all over the island of Mallorca gathered to hear the Ambassador emphasise the importance of the work of the BBF in caring for British citizens all over Spain.

This first fundraising event in Mallorca was a success in not only fundraising terms but in broadening the awareness of the BBF so that more British citizens may be helped.

Members of Resident Organising Ctte. L to R Anna Nicholas and Kate Mentink

Lord Archer raised the tempo of the event through a charity auction which raised as many laughs as money as he entertained those present. A weekend for two in a luxury hotel and a sixty minute helicopter ride over the island of Mallorca were amongst the items auctioned.

Lord Archer swinging into action

Reception in full swing!

Stewart Cusden, Chairman of the BBF publicly thanked Jason Moore, the editor of the Majorca Daily Bulletin, Balearic Helicopters, Palma Pictures and Camper & Nicholsons who had sponsored the event.

Lord Archer congratulates Michelin starred chef Marc Fosh for preparation of cocktail

Stewart Cusden, Chairman BBF

Charity Workshop in Barcelona


Charity groups and Anglican churches from Catalonia and Girona came together in the British Consulate in Barcelona on 3rd May, 2017 to see how best to work together with the British Benevolent Fund (BBF) in the region.

Lloyd Milen, British Consul opened the proceedings emphasising how important voluntary work is and thanking the sixteen volunteers who were present at the workshop. He and the Vice Consuls, Caroline de Jong and Annabelle Sproat Wilkinson explained that much of their time was taken up with issuing emergency travel documents, almost 1600 in 2016. Nevertheless they wished to support the British communities and to help the most vulnerable in society and saw this as a very important part of their role.

The Red Cross made a presentation on the international activities of their organisation.

Kim Stollard, Case Support Coordinator for the British Benevolent Fund made a comprehensive case to all the representatives present, how the BBF can help and what funding is available and how the various groups present could access funds to help British citizens in their care.

Michael Witty, a representative from the Anglican Church in Barcelona made reference to a previous British Benevolent Association in Barcelona, disbanded a number of years ago, and very much welcomed the efforts of the British Consulate, to bring charitable groups together. The group were introduced to Steve Cahill who will represent the BBF in Catalonia and Girona in the future.

In conclusion, a positive response was received to the workshop and that through working together the outcome will be greater than each group working independently.


A Latin Spring Fiesta

Although officially the first day of Spring is March 20th, the British Benevolent Fund of Madrid (BBF) celebrated the arrival of Spring with their Latin Spring Fiesta the following day at St. Philip´s Church in Earl´s Court, London.

Mr. Lindsay Appleby, Director Europe at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office was the guest of honour and introduced the audience to the BBF and the work it does in supporting British citizens in Spain.

Wagner Moreira (tenor), Gwyn Owen (trumpet), Michael Butten (guitar) and Lorena Paz Nieto (soprano) all trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London, came together under the direction of Rebecca Taylor (Piano) to produce a classical music programme by Spanish and South American composers.

The fundraising concert was supported by the British Spanish Society, the Instituto Cervantes and the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in London. Sponsorship from Hispania Restaurant in London and Casa Manolo made the concert possible.

The programme included trumpet showpiece pieces by Rafael Mendez performed by Gwyn Owen, wonderful solo Spanish guitar playing by Michael Butten and solo performances from Spanish soprano Lorena Paz Nieto and Brazilian tenor Wagner Moreira. The very varied programme was accompanied on the piano by Rebecca Taylor.

Stewart Cusden, Chairman of the BBF said “this concert is one of a number of events in Spain and the UK to raise the awareness of the BBF and of its activities”

Newsletter Summer 2016

BBF Logo

 Summer 2016 Newsletter

Dear Friend of the British Benevolent Fund,

As the August heat descends and we turn to holidays and relaxation (well at least for some!) I would like to take the opportunity to update you on the activities of the British Benevolent Fund.

I am pleased to be able to report that the Fund is undergoing a period of welcome expansion and change.  For the first time in its history the BBF is now an independent legal entity registered in Spain, and along with this change of status we are adjusting our modus operandi to cope with the growing need to provide help and assistance to British citizens living outside of Madrid.  Rest assured that the objectives of the BBF remain the same, but in order to satisfy the increased demand for our services we are joining forces with partner organisations outside of Madrid.  In addition to the British Consulates around Spain, and Age Concern España, with whom the BBF has had working relationships for many years, new partnerships have been created with HELP, in four coastal areas around Spain, and MABS Cancer Support, and a specific member of the Executive Committee has been nominated to oversee these relationships.

As a result of these actions, more cases are being presented to the BBF for consideration and the objective in the future will be to leverage these relationships effectively.  At the time of writing the BBF has dealt with some 25 cases this year, over double those dealt with in 2015 (11), and has disbursed over €40000 in grants and aid.  A particularly impressive statistic is the average length of time for a case to receive funds, some 9 days, which again underlines what we consider to be one of the Fund’s unique selling points, that is our ability to react quickly to requests for help.  Although over 60% of our cases this year have been in the Alicante province, the Fund continues actively supporting the British community in Madrid as it has done since 1928 and it relies very much on this same group for its fundraising efforts.  Do take a look at the Testimonials page on our website for some remarkable stories of how we have helped British Citizens overcome hardship and despair.

A further example of BBF innovation was the link up with Runnymede College in an initiative that allows students to earn points towards their Duke of Edinburgh´s Award. Students opting for social work within the Duke of Edinburgh Award are providing help and assistance to elderly people in the Madrid area who need additional support.

DoE Visit

Two pupils from Runnymede College during one of their visits to Mr B, a Madrid resident.

According to Mr B. a resident of Madrid, these visits are a great help: “I look forward very much to my visits from young people, as it combines practical assistance for me living alone and provides refreshing conversations with the younger generation”.



Remaining with Runnymede College for just a little longer I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to the parents, pupils and staff of Runnymede College for the hours of their time they have donated to raise funds for the BBF, their chosen charity for this academic year. Their incredible work has raised an impressive €8500 at the time of writing for which we are truly grateful.


The summer fete organised in conjunction with the Anglican Church of St. George’s was held again during the year. picture 11 Originally conceived as an event to bring non-profit English speaking groups together, this year commercial stalls were introduced resulting in an increase in the variety of offerings.  A further event is planned for 15th September, 2016.

IMG_1430The fourth annual fundraising concert at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes continued to be very successful, raising almost €6,000 and it will, again, be held on 27th October, 2016.  The BBF is most grateful to the professional musicians who give of their time for free and to the commercial sponsors who this year were again Bodegas Martúe and Mahou joined by Diageo, Mallorca Catering and Mini.

Somewhat ambitiously the Fund also organised an additional concert in London to celebrate the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the 23 April 2016, the day of her actual birthday. Although only modestly attended it served as a trailblazer for future events outside of Madrid, and with the experience gained we are confident that it can be repeated on a grander scale in 2017.


The Executive Committee are always looking for additional fundraising events as it is recognised that as the BBF reaches out to help more British citizens in Spain, so must its fundraising efforts, and therefore an additional concert in Spain is planned for 24 October 2016 in conjunction with King’s College the British School of Alicante.

A particular thank you is due to all the members of the Executive Committee. There is an active case support sub-committee frequently requiring quick decisions in support of individuals, and sub-committees devoted to marketing and events.  Those members on these committees give of their time and expense without reimbursement.  Without them the fund would not exist.

Many thanks for your continued support of the BBF which is very much appreciated.

Stewart Cusden