A Scot living in Santiago de Compostela has been elected President of Age in Spain, the organisation dedicated to supporting older English language speakers living in Spain or thinking of moving there.

John Rafferty joined the organisation as a volunteer on its Residency Helpline which supported people concerned about their residency status during the Brexit negotiations. Becoming a trustee of Age in Spain, John convened a campaign group which has delivered awareness raising campaigns on dementia and on what is involved in moving to or living in Spain.

Alongside a career at chief executive level in the voluntary and public sectors, John chaired NHS trusts in Scotland and England before moving to Spain.

Commenting on his election as President, John said

‘I am delighted to accept this role and I very much look forward to contributing to the magnificent work carried out by the many volunteers who are at the heart of Age in Spain.

‘The organisation has been serving English speakers in Spain for 30 years and has provided many vital services to those needing support and information, particularly the most vulnerable.

‘The task before us is to maintain and expand those services to meet increasing need in the future. I relish the opportunity to work without many volunteers, staff and supporters to achieve that end. ‘

John has long been a champion of volunteering and the development of infrastructure to support volunteering. He takes up his new post alongside three new Trustees of Age in Spain who have also had practical experience as volunteers with the organisation. Marijke Cazemier, David Dransfield and Margaret McKay strengthen the practical skills on the Board of Trustees, with expertise in project management, quality standards and leadership.

The founder of Age in Spain, Judy Arnold-Boakes, MBE, becomes the organisation’s first Honorary Vice President.