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'Real News from All the Canary Islands'

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​Vecindario in Gran Canaria is European City of Sport 2018

Vecindario in Gran Canaria is to be European City of Sport

On 6 December, the European Parliament presented the Municipality of Santa Lucia de Tirajana in Gran Canaria with a flag that recognises that it becomes the European City of Sport for 2018, and this flag is already flying in Vecindario.

This is partly in recognition of the commitment of this municipality to physical activity with 4500 federated athletes and 39 sports clubs that are registered in the area, which includes over 20 different sports.

The number of local athletes, sports clubs and various sports has been increasing over recent years, which have helped to make this recognition as European City of Sport possible.

Well done to the Municipality of Santa Lucia de Tirajana, which is mainly based in Vecindario, as well as the many local residents who have become a beacon of sport for the whole of Europe for 2018!

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​Tenerife Apartment Block to be Demolished

Tenerife Apartment Block to be Demolished

After a period of 42 years the construction of an apartment block meant to provide 174 apartments in Añaza in Santa Cruz de Tenerife will now at last be demolished without the owner’s permission.

This half built construction has been a problem for many years, and the local municipality has tried on numerous occasions to contact the builders without success.

This apartment’s original building permit has now expired, and should allow the local authority to demolish the building without the need for the permission of the owner. However, this demolition is likely to cost around one million euros, so the municipality is asking for some financial help from other public administrations to pay for this. One other option is to permanently wall off the property and just leave it.

This half built construction site has been a focus for residents to leave rubbish, and has been a dangerous attraction for young people, and over the last 42 years some young children have even lost their lives.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​New Pedestrian Promenade in La Gomera

New Pedestrian Promenade in La Gomera

In the Municipality of Alajero in La Gomera, work will be carried out to extend the beach area, improve the services currently available, and change parts of the maritime avenue of Playa de Santiago to create a new pedestrian promenade, which will commence in a few weeks.

Work begins in January, and the current image of this section of the coast will be completely changed with a budget of around one million euros, and should be completed by the end of 2018. As well as adapting the beach area, there will also be new landscaped areas and new urban furniture.

However, the most important element of these improvements will be the pedestrianisation of this stretch of the maritime avenue, because traffic, parking areas and architectural barriers will disappear. This should also give an economic boost to what is already one of the most important tourist attractions of La Gomera.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

http://newsfromthecanaryislands.com

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​Fuerteventura Wins Best Tourism Communication Award

Fuerteventura Wins Best Tourism Communication Award

The Fifth International Forum of Tourism Maspalomas Costa Canaria announced the awards for 2017, and ‘Islote de Lobos’ created by Edurne Rodriguez and Gerardo Jorge from Television Canaria was awarded best audio visual project for tourism communication based on its tourist focus and originality.

This was valued for its tourism approach, as well being an informative project and original in its concept.

The prize in the written press went to Jose Luis de Juan of the National Geographic Magazine, and in the digital press the winner was Amor Alonso, from Tour News Platform for the article ‘The Spanish archipelagos to return with cycling’.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​Festival for Children in Fuerteventura

Festival for Children in Fuerteventura

During this holiday season, the Children’s Festival of Fuerteventura arranged its annual Festin or Feast for local children at the Palacio de Formacion y Congresos de Puerto del Rosario. There were six spaces used for this family entertainment with simultaneous, individual and group activities taking place during the late afternoon.

This festival was produced by local group Clapso and included wizards, clowns, puppets, a picnic area and a mini train. There were also makeup workshops and mask workshops for children, and ‘elves’ gave groups of children a guided tour of the secret places of the Palacio de Formacion y Congresos, which included the dressing rooms and hidden rooms of the Symphony Hall.

In the Chinchilla Room, there were magical toys used to tell stories with songs, and the event ended with the performance of a musical.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

http://newsfromthecanaryislands.com

Remember to enter your email address for your FREE weekly online copy of 'News from the Canary Islands'

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​Canary Islands Examine Consequences of Brexit

Canary Islands Examines Consequences of Brexit

One third of tourists that visit the Canary Islands come from the UK, and there are many agricultural products from these islands that are exported to the UK. Therefore, 2018 will be a key year in the negotiations between Brussels and London for the UK to leave the European Union in 2019.

The Canary Islands want to reduce any negative consequences that Brexit might have on the economy of these islands, as over half of the 11 million passengers arriving at Tenerife South Airport in 2017 came from the UK, and overall Canary Islands UK tourists account for 34% of all visitors. This raises serious concerns about possible risks to the economy of the Canary Islands due to Brexit.

The Canary Islands’ Government has created an Executive to analyse the effects of Brexit that specifically highlights risks to these islands, which includes representatives of local businesses and unions.

In addition, over half the vegetables exported from the Canary Islands are currently destined for the UK market, but over the last year, exports of these agricultural products to the UK have dropped by 20%.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

http://newsfromthecanaryislands.com

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​Boat Crew Rescued off Coast of El Hierro

Boat Crew Rescued off Coast of El Hierro

A rowing competition held to cross the Atlantic Ocean from San Sebastian de la Gomera to the Caribbean island of Antigua began on 14 December, but this week one of these boats overturned 350 miles from the southwest coast of El Hierro, and the two crew members were left floating in the water. Eventually, this capsized boat and stranded crew were identified by a passing freighter and alerted Maritime Rescue.

After eight days of this Atlantic rowing race, this boat called La Jan capsized 650 kilometres or around 350 miles to the southwest of El Hierro, and the crew were left in the sea for several hours until they were rescued by the cargo ship. They were eventually taken by Maritime Rescue aircraft to Gran Canaria airport, and given medical treatment at the local hospital.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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Keep up to date by joining our Facebook page: @newsfromthecanaryislands

​Become a Police Agent for a Day in Gran Canaria

Become a Police Agent for a Day in Gran Canaria

Policia Local officers launched a programme of road safety education, which has been presented in all local schools within the Municipality of Santa Lucia de Tirajana, and mostly within Vecindario to generate a culture of safety and sensible road habits for young children in their fourth year of primary school.

However, these training sessions also included a competition for school pupils to become a police agent for one day, so that the lucky winner could experience what life for police officers is normally like.

Lucky Javier was one of the winners of this competition, and he says that it had always been his dream to become a police officer when he is older, and now can try this out for one day right away.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

http://newsfromthecanaryislands.com

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​Autopsy Raises Questions About Woman Found Drowned in Gran Canaria

Autopsy Raises Questions About Woman Found Drowned Gran Canaria

This Sunday, a Dutch woman was found dead in the swimming pool of her house in Tauro in Gran Canaria, and the autopsy confirmed that she had appeared to have drowned in the pool, and there were no signs on her body to indicate she had suffered violence.

Officers of the Guardia Civil had considered this drowning to be the result of a criminal act, and questioned the woman’s partner, an Irish citizen, as witnesses saw him leave the property after having argued with the woman. He was later released as there was no evidence to suggest that this death was homicide.

Sources suggest that the woman was found dead in the pool area with half her body in the water with head and thorax, and the rest of her body on the outer edge of the swimming pool.

The autopsy confirms death was by immersion, so that she drowned and no violent injury was found, and police are now considering that she may have fainted and fallen partly into the pool. Investigations continue.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

http://newsfromthecanaryislands.com

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​Standing Ovation for Priscilla in Gran Canaria

Standing Ovation for Priscilla in Gran Canaria

The Teatro Perez Galdos in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is currently presenting the musical, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which is based on the successful film based in Australia. The audience might have thought this beautiful theatre was in Las Palmas, but the very talented cast of Priscilla quickly transported everyone to Sydney in Australia to begin a fabulous journey on a bus to Alice Springs.

All members of this cast are superb and very talented, and the well-known music and amazing costume changes created a magical atmosphere in telling the story of two drag queen performers and a transsexual performer who develop their friendship, and make other friends on this journey. The three central characters are Tick, played by the talentednJaime Zatarain, who needs to finally meet his son in Alice Springs, a larger than life Bernadette, played by Armando Pita, who wanted to escape from the death of his partner, and Felicia, played by Christian Escuredo, who showed a larger than life character, an amazing singing and dancing talent, a wicked sense of humour and a vulnerability that captured the audience.

The singing was amazing, the costumes changes were unbelievable, and the show is full of comedy, and especially the scene with the pink ping pong balls. Some of the audience joined the cast on stage to dance, and some in the front rolls ended up being showered with ping pong balls. This was an evening to remember, and can be described as a theatre experience that made everyone feel good when they left humming and singing the music that they had enjoyed so much.

Well done Priscilla, your journey of laughter, music and dance was very successful and we want to see it all again!

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

http://newsfromthecanaryislands.com

Remember to enter your email address for your FREE weekly online copy of 'News from the Canary Islands'

Keep up to date by joining our Facebook page: @newsfromthecanaryislands

​Record Tourist Arrivals at Airports in the Canary Islands

Record Tourist Arrivals at Airports in the Canary Islands

At the end of each year, the airports of the Canary Islands check their arrival of passenger totals, and all airports report record numbers of tourist arrivals for 2017. However, new records have been broken at Gran Canaria airport this year with the arrival of the thirteen millionth passenger this week.

This means that for Gran Canaria airport there have been one million more tourists arriving in 2017 compared with 2016. This huge increase in tourist numbers that has created a tourist boom this year is reported to be due to the Canary Islands being seen as a safe destination for international tourists and peninsular Spanish tourists. Also, inter island ferries and flights have increased by over 30% since last July due to the 75% residents’ discount that have encouraged more local people to travel. The most important international tourist markets in 2017 have been Germany, the UK and Scandinavian countries, and many tourists from peninsular Spain.

Tenerife South Airport has also reported its highest number of tourist arrivals with the eleven millionth tourist, Alison Alexander, from Edinburgh in Scotland, who arrived with her family for their Christmas holiday in Tenerife.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

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​In Loving Memory of John Barrie Charnley

 John Barrie Charnley

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of John Barrie Charnley earlier today. Many residents, as well as holidaymakers, will remember John with great fondness as an intelligent, articulate man, a good listener and one whose kindness and wisdom could be relied upon.

For David and I, John was our first real friend on the island, who gave us so much good advice, suggestions and contacts when we launched a new newspaper on the island, ‘RTN Canary Islands’ in 2005. John always offered us great kindness and support; we will miss him.

In this edition of ‘News from the Canary Islands’ we are republishing an interview that we did with John in the early days of the newspaper. It was part of the ‘Canarian Character’ series, and we know that John loved it! RIP John.

Canarian Character

Gran Canaria’s Very Own ‘Peter Pan’ - John Barrie

This island is full of surprises. One of my favourite ‘locals’ is ‘Hollywood Bar’ in the Yumbo Centre, Playa Del Ingles. It was whilst talking to John, one of the owners of the bar, one evening that I realised I was talking to someone very special. John has both a voice and a presence that could only mean one thing - show business. Few people can claim to have worked with a hypnotist, interviewed Nat King Cole, to have had a close association with Peter Pan or been appointed as Registrar and Superintendent of Births, Marriages and Deaths whilst running several of London’s most prestigious discos part time! As you can probably guess, John Barrie is larger than life and it was a privilege to hear his story.

John was born in New Zealand. At the age of 15 he was, by his own admission, “a big boy” weighing in at around 21 stone. It was both his size and outgoing personality, as well as an early talent as a comedian that led him to join a magic show at the age of 15. His talent was quickly spotted and he subsequently joined a hypnotist show with John as the compere. This early success took John to Australia – unusual in itself as he was still under 18 and officially below the age for unaccompanied travel. It presented no problem because it was assumed that, with his build, he was much older that he actually was. It was whilst working in the show in Australia that John was noticed by independent radio and asked to carry out a number of interviews, leading him to hosting his own radio ‘breakfast show’. His highly successful interviews with well-known celebrities such as Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong and Frank Singleton, to name just a few were transmitted across a network of around 182 stations. John was still only 18 years old at the time, and by the age of 22 he had achieved the country’s ‘Best Actor Award’.

John was then encouraged to move to London where many thought he would find more outlets for his obvious talents as a broadcaster. BBC broadcaster, John Snagg, took John ‘under his wing’ and helped him to make contacts in the city. John related how he went for a job as a presenter with BBC Radio – all went well until he revealed that he worked for commercial and not national radio in Australia. In the 1950s, the thought of commercial radio having a foothold in BBC territory was thought to be akin to the end of the world – as the BBC knew it – and so John didn’t get the job! Fortunately for John, this honesty led to better things because he joined both the London and touring companies of J.M. Barrie´s ‘Peter Pan’ working alongside Alistair Sims. John initially took the role of the ‘Black Pirate’, although he later became Alistair Sims’ understudy for the sword fight sequence to name just one role. Not only did he perform in ‘Peter Pan’, but he also became stage manager and director of the production. ‘Peter Pan’ gave John wonderful opportunities to work with actors, such as Donald Sinden, John Gregson, Julia and Margaret Lockwood as well as pop stars such as Davey Jones from ‘The Monkees’. Many actors at that time saw ‘Peter Pan’ not as a pantomime, but as an early introduction to the theatre for young people. Unusually much of the play was unscripted with much ‘ad-libbing’. Later, it became one of John’s jobs to produce a script for the play, which was later used in other productions. John loved it and worked with the show from November to March each year for nine years.

At other times, John was involved with television, theatre and film work. Some readers may well remember the ‘White Tide Man’ from the ‘Proctor and Gamble’ television advertisement or indeed ‘The Wizard of Daz’ – these characters were all played by John Barrie. As well as a continued friendship with Alistair Sims for whom John regularly worked as an understudy, John appeared in a number of well-known films, including Cliff Richard’s very first film ‘Expresso Bongo’, ‘Devil’s Disciple’ with Laurence Olivier and ‘Suddenly last Summer’ with Katherine Hepburn. John’s career also took him to work as a theatre box office manager in several of London’s theatres including the Royal Court as well as administrator of St George’s Theatre.

Suddenly, one day at the age of 47, John had enough of show business. He wanted to do something completely different. He saw an advertisement for an opening in the office of Births, Marriages and Deaths in Wandsworth and decided to go for the job. Initially he worked as an office boy – even cleaning the vaults where the documents were stored. Very quickly, John gained promotion and not only became a Registrar, but also Deputy Superintendent and later Superintendent of Births, Marriages and Deaths for Wandsworth. He loved the job, but the only trouble was that it was very badly paid. He was neither a local government officer nor a member of the Civil Service and, as such, the pay and benefits of this relatively small group of officials appeared to have been overlooked - other than the provision of a morning suit in order to officiate at weddings! John then looked for other ways of supplementing his income and decided to become a DJ in his spare time. Discos such as ‘Waggs’ in Merton Hall, ‘The Dog and Fox’ in South London, ‘Heaven’ as well as ‘Boys’ - the disco that was to become G.A.Y. in Tottenham Court Road were just some of discos that he was involved with.

There have been many surprises in John’s life. One involved a séance in London, in which John was warned of a future trip to Australia that would change his life. Indeed, it did because during that trip he discovered that his mother was really his grandmother, his father was his stepfather and that the young woman he had regarded as his sister was really his mother. Looking back at a somewhat complicated family relationship, John told me that it was his aunt who had had a considerable influence upon his life and encouraged and developed his love of the theatre.

John, now a young 73-year-old, has owned and run ‘Hollywood Bar’ for the last nine years with his partner Tony. He told me that he made up his mind to “retire” in Gran Canaria 40 years ago. For him, the island’s climate is “just about right” and he rarely has the need, or the time, to leave the island nowadays.

With his distinctive voice and commanding presence, John continues to enjoy a fulfilling life in Gran Canaria and continues to meet and entertain many people, who have come to regard him as a good friend. I asked John how much of his life had he planned. “Very little”, he told me. The course of events appeared to be set out in front of him and that he had really just “gone with the flow”. Do call in and meet John and Tony in ‘Hollywood Bar’ and have a look at some of the photographs on the wall!

By Barrie Mahoney

John Barrie with Nat King Cole

​Christmas Arrives at Las Canteras Beach in Las Palmas

Christmas Arrives at Las Canteras Beach in Las Palmas

Las Palmas in the north of Gran Canaria continues its traditional Christmas celebrations with an amazing experience of a Nativity scene or Belen carved in sand sculptures on Las Canteras Beach. This unique experience is currently attracting thousands of visitors to see the story of Christmas displayed in sand with shepherds, sheep, traditional houses, three kings with camels and Mary, Joseph and Jesus.

Professional sand sculptures have worked hard for many weeks to design and create this artistic and spiritual display that reminds visitors of the origin of Christmas in a way that is unique and memorable. In the first three days of being opened, over 25,000 adults and children came to see this amazing exhibit on Las Canteras Beach, and by the side of hundreds of holidaymakers sunbathing on the sand or swimming in the sea.

For many tourists in Gran Canaria, blue skies, warm sunshine, sunbathing and swimming, beautiful scenery and a place to relax and escape from the winter weather in other parts of Europe are some of the reasons for making their journey to the Canary Islands. However, for those lucky enough to be visiting Gran Canaria now and until 6 January, they can jump on a bus to Las Palmas and head for Las Canteras Beach, which is close to Santa Catalina Park, and remind themselves what Christmas is really about and take back photos and memories from a work of art created from sand.

This Belen de Arena or Sand Nativity is open each day from nine o’clock in the morning until ten o’clock at night, and entrance is free. However, visitors are encouraged to give donations to charity. Do visit this amazing Belen for something different, artistic and spiritual!

A Merry Christmas to all our Readers!

Christmas Arrives in the Canary Islands

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

http://newsfromthecanaryislands.com

Remember to enter your email address for your FREE weekly online copy of 'News from the Canary Islands'

Keep up to date by joining our Facebook page: @newsfromthecanaryislands

​Some Tap Water in Gran Canaria Unfit to Drink

Some Tap Water in Gran Canaria Unfit to Drink

The Municipality of Mogan has just announced that tap water in the area of Arguineguin is not fit for human consumption, because it has detected an excess of chlorine in the water supply that is considered unfit for drinking.

Tap water in Arguineguin should not be used for drinking, cooking or preparing food until the current high levels of chlorine have returned to normal levels reported by the Public Health Department.

This restriction has been ordered as a measure to protect the health of the population and will remain in effect until technicians consider that the tap water is drinkable. The Municipality plans to carry out weekly tests over the next two months to check the chlorine levels.

In the meantime, local people in Arguineguin are advised to only drink mineral water and to use mineral water for cooking and preparing food.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

http://newsfromthecanaryislands.com

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Sailors Rescued from Boat off South of Gran Canaria

Sailors Rescued from Boat off South of Gran Canaria

Emergency services rescued nine people who were in a sailing boat that ran aground of the south of Gran Canaria, and was only 20 metres from the coast between Playa de Ingles and Maspalomas.

The Lifeboat Menkalinan and the Maritime Rescue helicopter were quickly despatched to rescue the occupants of this sailing boat, and were supported by members of the Red Cross, Policia Nacional, Policia Local from San Bartolome de Tirajana and fire service personnel from the local municipality.

The 112 Emergency Service Centre reports that all occupants of the sailing boat were in good health.

You can find this and other news stories from the Canary Islands and Spain in the free, online 'News from the Canary Islands':

http://newsfromthecanaryislands.com

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