Updated: May 8
Every week, British Benevolent Fund chairman Olaf Clayton contributes a column to major newspaper the Euro Weekly News.
The British Benevolent Fund was founded over a century ago to act as a charity of last resort for those Britons in Spain facing extreme financial hardship.
A century ago, there were only handful of Britons who were able to come to Spain for leisure.
Today around 19 million Britons visit Spain on holiday.
The vast majority enjoy the warmth and hospitality that Spain has always shown to visitors and holidays pass trouble free.
But not always.
A much miss held view is that the UK consular network can fund visitors to return home if this goes wrong.
Earlier this month we were contacted by a consular office about an urgent case of a divorced father who had come on holiday to Spain with his two young children. His former wife had given permission for the trip.
What transpired was that the father was a former alcoholic who almost as soon as arriving at the hotel started drinking.
He didn’t stop – the hotel quickly realised there was a problem with their guest and were concerned for the welfare of the children.
The manager ordered the hotel staff not to serve him but still he found a way.
The police were then called – it is of course no crime to drink but the safety of the children was now paramount.
The consulate were alerted to explain that the children would need to be put into care unless there was an immediate solution.
That’s where the BBF came in – the mother was aghast to find out the situation – but had hardly any resources – let alone money for a last-minute flight then return with the children.
This we were able to do. She arrived the following day and was met by the hotel manager and waiting police for the handover to her of her children. With that this appalling situation which could have so quickly taken on a nightmare for the children was resolved and they were able to return safe and sound.
The BBF can only help her and other urgent cases with the generosity of others. If you would like to support our mission with a donation to help those who have nowhere else to turn – please visit donate today.