It was 30 years ago this year when I went to my friend’s house and found this beautiful lady, on the doorstep, practically gift-wrapped and ready to take away.
I remember when Shirley and I went on our first date I reached out to hold her hand only to find she wasn’t there. I looked around to see where she was and found her walking some distance behind me. I waited for her to catch up and started off again and tried to hold her hand. She was gone and I thought to myself that this wasn’t going well! I was wrong! Shirley was, as some of you well know, a very, very slow walker!
Shirley was famous for her fabulous food. She was heavily into mass catering on an industrial scale so organising a dinner party for 60 people for my 70th birthday, where two local restaurateurs, Abi and Vicky, generously acted as waiters and later, for all the members of our Comunidad for my barmitzvah; neither occasion held absolutely any qualms for her at all.
And Shirley would never ever say no. She was always the first to help others and never refused a challenge. She worked tirelessly for our Jewish community and our Masonic Lodge and for the Moraira U3A, coordinating and supporting all the many groups and the members within that organisation. As a tribute to her, Shirley’s contribution to the local community is being socially recognised with a memorial dedicated to her in the park in Moraira.
I am immensely proud of Shirley and I could go on and on but the plain fact is that she had a great life over here in Spain. Wherever we went, people knew her and would stop her in the street just to say hello.
Above all, she was the most generous and loyal friend I have ever known.
We are all very lucky to have known this warm and wonderful lady.
And I am very lucky to have loved and been loved by her for the last 30 years.
Laurence Baehr, 3rd April 2016