Live wake in Calpe

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In what is believed to be one of the first examples of this form of celebration in this region, a live wake was held at the restaurant Puerto Blanco in Calpe on Saturday, May 4 in honour of Donald Twyford CB.

The main difference from a normal funeral wake was that Mr Twyford was able to attend himself and listen to the eulogies.

He also enjoyed the splendid, gastronomic lunch provided by the PB master chef: Patrick Margette. The special menu ran to six creative and delicious courses and was greatly appreciated by all the forty guests attending the ceremony.

Mr Twyford, who is aged 93, has lived continuously in Jávea for 34 years and during this period has been active in the integration of foreign residents into the local community. In his speech he explained that he had never understood why so many British residents were strongly opposed to death duties as he thought that it was better to pay tax after one’s death than during one’s lifetime.

Similarly, whilst he also welcomed the new form of modern funerals with much less emphasis on the sadness of the occasion and more on the entertainment of the mourners, he saw no reason why the subject of the celebration should not also enjoy the wake. He had always taken the view that if you pay for something you should really enjoy it! Remembering some of the incidents that had happened to him during his time in Jávea, he recalled the celebration of the Millennium. He heard from a Spanish neighbour that Jávea was the most easterly town in Spain and therefore that the first light of the new Millennium would fall on it.

So he had rushed round to see the mayor and proposed having a special town fiesta, under the name of ‘Jávea: Dawn of the Millennium’. To his surprise the mayor quickly agreed to his suggestion – this was the first time that this had happened.

The next day the mayor organised a press conference and invited him to attend. A dozen or so local journalists turned up.

The mayor proudly announced that he thought there should be special fiestas on January 1 as Jávea would be the first town in Spain to greet the new Millennium. One of the journalists asked what exactly would happen and the mayor said quickly “I will ask Sr Twyford to answer that!”

He had risen quickly to the challenge and mentioned that the PM would be asked to open the festival as soon as dawn hit Montgó and there would be a laser display on the summit followed by processions involving some 20 nations.

The following morning there was extensive coverage in the local press but the very next day he received an email from a knowledgeable expat telling him that Jávea was not the most easterly town in Spain coming second to a coastal town in Cataluña. Worried at the wasted costs he had rushed round to tell the mayor the bad news.

However, the ‘alcalde’ was not at all perturbed and said that he never intended to have big fiestas anyway but simply wanted local voters to know what a dynamic mayor he was!
Mr Twyford’s speech at the ceremony was followed by a series of flattering toasts and eulogies from the guests – possibly made more fulsome by his presence. The eulogies in English were delivered by Julian Twyford and Connor Downes, whilst those in Spanish were given by Alec Taylor and Lina Montfort.

Mr Twyford thanked them for their kind words that he had not expected to hear. He concluded by saying that he did not expect to make a speech at his next wake but – ending on an optimistic note – if they could wait seven years there might be another LIVE wake then.

From the man himself – Donald Twyford

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