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Paphos Local News January 2018

Dedication, courage and inspiration- all honoured at Hearts of Gold annual awards
By Bejay Browne
Outstanding dedication to refugees, fundraising for children by children and courage and inspiration, were all awarded at a packed 10th Hearts of Gold Cyprus awards held in Paphos in December.
Rehab Al Habrat from Paphos and nine-year-old Emma Savva from Larnaca were announced as this year’s adult and junior winners, respectively.
Taylor Hargett, 16, from Paphos and 94-year-old Ray Woolley, from Limassol, were also winners, and were awarded the Jasmitha award for courage and the Hearts of Gold Lifetime Achievement award.
Rehab, a mother of four, originally from Syria, has lived in Cyprus for 14 years and volunteers at Caritas to support refugees. She delivers food and helps Arabic speaking refugees whenever needed at schools, hospitals, with lawyers, immigration, the labour office and more. She also helps the UN Commission for refugees understand the difficulties refugees face, drawing on her own experience.
Junior winner, Emma Savva, has organised ‘Emma’s Run Kids for Kids’ charity run for the last three years. The idea to organise a fundraiser for children, undertaken by children, came from Emma, when at seven, she learnt that children in poorer parts of the world have to work to attend school, earning just a few cents a day.
Taylor, 16, was awarded the Jasmitha award for courage. She experienced a difficult early life and has shown strength of character and determination. Supported by her guardians, Taylor is a good student and read at this year’s Remembrance Day service in Kato Paphos. Taylor’s stoicism and courage are a great example to everyone, said the judges.

Ninety-four year old Woolley is the world’s oldest active scuba diver, often going down to 30 and 40 metres. The sprightly nonagenarian is fit, energetic and an inspiration to many and promotes a healthy lifestyle. He has encouraged numerous people of all ages to take up diving, and says “you’re never too old to do what you love”. He served with distinction in the Royal Navy radio branch in WWII before being seconded to the ‘special boat services’. Whilst working for the British Foreign Office, Ray trained as a radio engineer and was first posted to Cyprus in 1964, where he undertook three tours of duty.
Overwhelmed by his win, a beaming Ray said: “I can’t believe it, I’m in shock and I’m very grateful.”
Honorary Patron of the 2017 awards, Charalampous Theopemptou, presented the awards and said: “It as an honour to be among so many people that not only care but also promote the caring culture and philanthropy. My congratulations to all of the nominees and winners.
For the first time this year a number of honorary mentions were also awarded and in the adult section were: Costas Gavrielides the President of Accept – LGBT Cyprus recognised for his support of the LGBTI community; Petros Stylianou from Paphos is an inspirational cancer survivor who cycles all over the world to raise thousands for Cyprus charities.
David and Cathy Lewis, also from Paphos, were awarded for their love, sensitivity, and support of an orphaned girl, who has blossomed under their care.
In the junior section, Ivan Durda, a 4-year-old from Paphos was recognised for his courage and ready smile, even when facing a barrage of treatment.
And 18 year old Melika Golaghapoorniazi, who attends the International School of Paphos, was recognised for her selfless compassion, coping well with political and religious pressure before her move to Cyprus, and her academic prowess.
Hala Ayman Karoum, an 11-year-old from Paphos was awarded the Jasmitha Honorary Mention for her courage and strength of character. Hala and her family fled ISIS in Syria and she survived septicaemia. She has some physical difficulties but is always smiling and positive despite being in pain.
And finally, Giorgoula Gavrielidou was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award honorary mention. Giorgoula suffered from acute myelitis, and at the age of 12 ended up in a wheelchair. She overcame difficulties and now works at Paphos Hospital. She is a member of a basketball team for people in wheelchairs and is an active member of many volunteer events. She is also lobbying for Paphos to become friendly and accessible for people with disabilities.
British High Commission Matthew Kidd said that it was a pleasure to meet so many wonderful people from all over the island.
All of the nominees received a certificate and a flower presented by the British High Commissioner, British Vice Consul Christina Smith and member of the judging panel, Judith Evans.
Nominees and their guests enjoyed a finger buffet and drinks after the ceremony and Father Christmas handed out gifts to the children.
The Hearts of Gold Cyprus awards celebrate philanthropy, humanity, volunteering and caring and recognise both children and adults from all over the island.
The annual award is supported by Paphos municipality, the British High Commission, Aphrodite Jewellers, Blevins Franks, Almyra Hotel, Massiva printers, Kivotos Gallery, the Cyprus Mail, The Paphos Post, In Focus films, TOTT Events, Joulietta chocolatier and patisserie and Kamanterena winery. and Hearts of Gold Cyprus on Facebook

Paphos resident recognised in Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2018
By staff reporter
A BRITISH expat resident of Paphos has been awarded an honour in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2018.
Ian Baddon, a retired UK television producer and journalist, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to the voluntary sector and British community living in Cyprus.
He told the Paphos Post: ““There are so many people doing wonderful things. I am stunned to be recognised for this award. It is an honour which I will always treasure.”
Ian, who knew nothing of his nomination, will be presented with the award by the British High Commissioner to Cyprus, Matthew Kidd, as is the normal practice for the British Empire Medal. He will also be invited to attend Her Majesty’s annual garden party.
He has been recognised as a volunteer for Cancer Patients Support, part of the Cyprus Association of Cancer Patients and Friends- Pasykaf, and for services to supporting patients with both cancer and dementia.
According to an official press notice, the Paphos resident has ‘provided outstanding assistance to vulnerable people and their families in Paphos, Cyprus, volunteering his own time and resources to those less fortunate than himself’.
He moved to Cyprus with his family in 2005 to help his wife deal with terminal illness and since her death has dedicated himself to supporting families going through similar difficult times.
Over a period of 10 years, the recipient has become involved with a number of individuals and families coping with either Parkinson’s disease, cancer or Alzheimer’s, liaising with doctors, lawyers and the British High Commission to ensure the best possible care and support is provided.
Honours lists are published twice a year, on the Queen's official birthday in June and at New Year, and recognise extraordinary achievement and service to the UK.  Following a nomination process, an honours committee reviews all the submitted nominations. The Queen then awards the honour.
The New Year’s Honours is published on December 30th, in The Gazette, the UK's official public record.

Paphos rallies to support ‘cat lady’
By Bejay Browne
A PAPHOS businessman has stepped in to help a dedicated cat lover by providing her with a car after hers broke down during a regular cat feeding route in the town.
Gaynor Georgiou, 73, affectionately known as the ‘cat lady’ told the Paphos Post that she is delighted and overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity shown by David Mitchell, of David Mitchell’s motor store in Geroskipou, after her car was deemed scrap.
“I don’t know this man. God bless him for what he’s done for me, it’s a miracle, and I couldn’t carry on without him.”
The showroom owner has given Georgiou a Fiat Ibiza to use for a year, but said this arrangement will be renewed annually and will continue indefinitely.
“I was aware of all of the wonderful work that Gaynor does and how dedicated she is. She spends all of her own money on looking after these stray cats and it’s a pleasure to be able to help her out,” he said.
Georgiou’s vehicle broke down just ahead of Christmas, leaving her with no transport to complete her daily rounds in Paphos old town, which sees her feed 160 or so stray and unwanted cats.
“I was desperate, the garage told me that my car engine was cracked and would cost more than 700 euros to replace and fit, my exhaust had gone and the car had other problems, it was scrap really. I just don’t have that kind of money,” she said.
Georgiou contacted local business woman and friend, Judith Evans, to explain her plight and animal store, Pets Stuff suggested people could contribute to find her a cheap car. However, this proved difficult as many of the showrooms were already winding down for Christmas, said Georgiou.
In the meantime, the 73 year old attempted to do her daily rounds pushing a shopping trolley full of the necessary paraphernalia to feed the cats, including dry food, tinned food, water and bowls, which she had to top up a number of times during the day.
“I just couldn’t do it, I only managed one day, it was too much for me,” she said.

Seven days a week, whatever the weather, Georgiou does a daily round of selected feeding places in Paphos town. She feeds and waters the cats who rush to greet her. When possible, she catches the stray cats and kittens and takes them to Paphiakos and CCP animal welfare charity’s free spaying and neutering programme.
Georgiou spends hundreds of euros of her own money on the cats but is reliant on donations for the animals – she looks after around 160 cats, which amounts to at least 20kg of food every three days. She has been doing this for the last 27 years.
Evans’ husband Mark, approached David Mitchell, who said that he was pleased to be able to help.
“I like to have happy customers and it’s good to be able to give something back,” said Mitchell.
He added that although much is done to raise funds for stray and unwanted dogs in Cyprus, cats don’t seem to get as much attention. He will also cover the vehicle’s service costs, tax and insurance cover, he said.
“Gaynor will only have to pay for the petrol.”
Georgiou is still desperate for help her on her daily rounds and said that volunteering a few hours a week would really help.
“I really worry about what will happen to the cats when I die. I am dedicated to them, they are my family. I would like to know that there is someone to take over,” she said.
If you would like to help Gaynor call: 99 778962

Second phase of Tala village upgrade in 2018
By Bejay Browne
The second phase of an upgrading project to revamp the centre of Tala village in Paphos is ear -marked to get underway in the first few months of 2018, according to officials.
In 2017, an overhaul of the popular village centre was completed before Easter, ahead of schedule, due to a mild winter. The square was pedestrianised and modernised to create an attractive centre for the entire village, said local councillor, Cathi Delaney.
The two phase upgrading works have a 1.5 million euro price tag which has been funded 70 per cent by the government, with the Tala community board paying the remaining 30 per cent.
A central, colourfully lit water fountain which turns shades of blue, purple, pink and yellow adds to the new look centre.
As part of phase one, water pipes under the square were replaced, drainage improved and electricity cables placed underground. The square has also been paved and pedestrianised, new lighting installed, flower beds planted and uniform pergolas added for businesses around the square.
Phase 2 was due to get underway in October 2017, and should have lasted around six months, however the project was deferred due to delays and a backlog of other government projects.
“It’s out of our control,” said Delaney, adding, “we have been assured by the government that in the first few months of 2018, the tender process will open and work on phase 2 will commence shortly after that,” she said.
This phase will include upgrading the network of roads around the square, levelling some and creating a one- way system, she said.
“The road network around the square will be widened where possible, roads will be resurfaced, some roads will be designated as one-way, and additional car parking will be created.”
Tala is the birthplace of Archbishop Chrysostomos, and an icon shop found underneath the Church of the Birth of Christ is popular with visitors, as is the Archbishop’s museum which contains mementos of his travels, religious robes, photographs and his book collection.

Loyal British holidaymakers honoured by mayor of Geroskipou
By Bejay Browne
Two British holidaymakers who have visited various Constantiou Bros hotels in Geroskipou in Paphos more than one hundred times have been awarded a plaque by the mayor and the group’s general manager.
John and Carole Morley have stayed in the area one hundred and four times during the last twenty-five or so years, and keep coming back time and again, the groups’ general manager, Aristos Diomedous told the Paphos Post.
“They have stayed at a number of our hotels, including the Athena and the Pafian Bay, since 1992 and they are booked to stay with us again in March 2018, which will bring the total up to 105 visits with us,” he said.
A celebration to mark the occasion was recently held at Geroskipou municipality, when, at the invitation of the mayor, Michalis Pavlides, the couple’s loyalty was rewarded with a special plaque and a gift.
“I presented the award to them, which was nice,” said Pavlides, “We cooperate with our hotels so that every year we present gifts to repeat customers that stay more than fifty times. This couple were more than double that.”
He added that he is pleased that so many customers are choosing to return to the area year after year.
Diomedous, who is also the vice president of the hotels managers’ association said that many hotels all over Cyprus rely on such customers and that they are of huge importance in the industry.
“These people are what we need to invest in and they will help us to expand our seasonality issues as they chose to stay all year round, not just during the summer months,” he said.

He also said that the couple, as is the case with many other ‘repeaters’, form friendships with other customers and tend to book their holidays at the same time so that they may meet up again.
He noted that this Constantiou hotel ‘fan club’ are a valuable asset to the group and would be at any hotel.
“During September this year, seventy per cent of our customers at our Athena Royal hotel were repeat customers and in our other hotels, at various times, this sector makes up around forty five to fifty per cent of our guests,” he noted.
The industry expert said that the key to repeat custom is quality, hospitality, regular customer contact and showing them that they are appreciated, important and valued.
“Offering value for money is also a must,” he said.

Couple overwhelmed by public response
By Bejay Browne
A Paphos couple struggling to bring up a deceased relative’s children as their own have been overwhelmed by the public’s response offering help, following a newspaper piece highlighting their plight.
Blaga Petkova said that the kindness from strangers has been overwhelming.
“This Christmas was even more special for all of us because of the help from people that we don’t know and because of all of the attention,” she said. “I can’t explain how happy this has made me feel.”
Metal shop worker Nikola Nikolov and his wife, Blaga Petkova, made a promise to his dying sister to bring up her children as his own, and as he is the only working member of his family, it is proving difficult.
The 40-year-old Bulgarian mother of six died in Paphos in 2016 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, which had already spread to her bones at the time of diagnosis. Only recently have the couple received any money from the state to help support the four of her children who are living with them.
The couple, along with Nikolov’s sister, moved to Paphos four years ago from Malta in search of a better life. The pair have his sister’s 22-year-old daughter living with them, as well as Niko, 13, Eleni, 10, and eight-year-old Dimitri.
The response from the public following the article has been staggering with dozens of people, both members of the public and organisations offering help.
A number of Christmas presents were also donated to the family.

“They had Lego, sweets and puzzles and Nico was given a guitar. The attention and love is helping them to heal,” she said.
Their aunt said that all of the children were ‘very happy’ to know that people care about them, even though they are still grieving for their mother.
“But this kindness is helping,” she said.
The 12 months since his sister’s death have been emotionally and financially difficult, said Nikola, and were made so much worse as it took that long for the state to approve social welfare payments to help feed the children.
“They are like our own children and we love them so much, they are so sweet,” said Blaga.
The entire family were also nominated for this year’s Hearts of Gold Cyprus Awards and were greeted with rapturous applause by the audience.
“I felt very shy, we all did, but it was a lovely experience for us all,” she said.
The family spent Christmas at home, enjoying some traditional Bulgarian food as well as a hamper of donated goodies including a turkey crown.
(If you would like to help the family by donating supermarket vouchers, please contact the Paphos Post.)

Touring art show in 2018 to raise thousands for Pasykaf
By Bejay Browne
Organisers of an upcoming art exhibition that will tour the island are appealing for all professional artists to donate a signature piece of their work to help raise money for the biggest cancer patients’ charity.
‘The space art for charity 2018’ aims to raise €40,000 for the Cyprus association of cancer patients and friends, Pasykaf, for the support services they offer to cancer patients and their families across the island.
Building on last year’s success which raised €10,000 through both an art and photographic exhibition held in Paphos, organiser and curator Sarah Coyne told the Paphos Post that she is taking the exhibition on tour this year.
“We will open in Paphos at the Almyra Hotel on February 17 where it will stay for two weeks, to be followed by a week in Limassol and another in Nicosia,” she said.
Coyne said that along with art work, sponsors are also urgently needed with each contribution being tax deductible for companies.
The Paphos resident moved from the UK to the island ten years ago and operates an estate agency, a job she also did in the UK, where she also worked at an art gallery in London.
Following her mother’s cancer diagnosis in the UK, Coyne said that she experienced first-hand what cancer patients and their families endure and decided to volunteer at Pasykaf’s cancer patients support group in Paphos.
The aim of the exhibition is to let people buy some stunning works of art all from one exhibition and to raise money for Pasykaf.

“This year we will exhibit works by 60 artists, up from last year’s 25,” she said. Exhibits will include paintings, mosaic work, sculptures and other mediums.
Coyne has joined forces with a number of galleries and art professionals across Cyprus, who are currently working with her as advisors and helping to raise the profile of the venture.
The 2018 exhibition in will incur no costs, with the money raised going to the charity, she said. Venues have been donated for free, artists are donating works, Tsangarides, Tsiakkas and Vassiliades wineries are offering wine for the exhibition openings and expert removal company, Peter Morton will transport the art works between venues for free.
Artists who have so far signed up for the project include Andros Efstathiou, Maria Ignatiou, Keith Walker, Katja Tonja, Michael Kersey, Penelope Constantinou, Anna Roman and Anna Privaloff.
For further information- 99 254491 or send an email to:
Oldest animal shelter may be forced to close
By Bejay Browne
The oldest animal shelter in Cyprus may be forced to close as there are not enough funds to cover the huge running expenses to provide care for the unwanted animals of the Paphos district, the facility’s staff have said.
Oana Bodnaras of Paphiakos and CCP Animal Welfare told the Paphos Post that help is urgently needed now, or the shelter may close, leaving more than 1,000 animals stranded.
“We need help or closure is around the corner. Donations are drying up and the number of animals we shelter has increased. The running costs are high and we don’t have enough funds to cover these,” she said.
Bodnaras said it costs more than €1,050 a day to run the shelter including feeding and medical costs.
The Paphos shelter is home to 150 donkey and horses, around 500 dogs and 700 or so cats and kittens.
Feeding costs of the dogs alone is close to €250 a day, the cats €140 and the donkeys, horses and goats €115. On top of that, medical expenses for the animals average around €550 a day.

“This shows the difficult reality we are facing every day, combined with the fact that rescues are coming in all the time from all areas, 24 hours a day. We really need the public’s help with feeding all the animals and looking after them,” she said.
The shelter has rehomed thousands of animals over the years and a recent success story involves a Kokoni Spaniel called Yoda. He is now owned by Dave Murray and is an RAPPAW therapy dog for traumatised and vulnerable victims of crimes in the UK.
The organisation was initially founded in 1982 as the Cyprus Cat Protection (CCP) and Animal Welfare, and provided shelter for stray cats and dogs.
In 1994 it changed to Paphiakos and CCP Animal Welfare with the aim of promoting and improving animal welfare throughout Cyprus.
Since then, it has grown to provide a veterinary clinic, free rescue and 24-hour emergency service, an information and complaints centre, shelter, boarding, re-homing and a successful pet travel service.
Bodnaras requested that any food donations are taken to the Paphos shelter or reception centre in Kato Paphos, and large quantities collection can be arranged.
For cash donations: Account name: Animal Rescue, Bank: Paphos Co-op savings society Ltd, account no: 4007343-2, IBAN: CY06 0070 2840 0000 0000 4007 3432, BIC: CCBKCY2N.
94-year-old claims world record as world’s oldest scuba diver
By Bejay Browne
A 94-year-old Limassol resident has officially gained the title of the world’s oldest active male scuba diver.
Ray Woolley told the Paphos Post that his Guinness world record was confirmed by email in December.

“It was a lovely Christmas present and I feel very lucky to be as fit and healthy as I am and hope to keep diving for as long as I can,” said Woolley.
In August, the nonagenarian spent his 94th birthday diving to the sunken wreck of the Zenobia ferry in Larnaca in his World Record bid.
The title was previously held by the USA’s Erwin Paul Staller, who was born on 14 May 1921. He completed a dive at Grace Bay, Turks & Caicos, on October 24, 2014 at the age of 93 years and 163 days.
Ray’s dive saw him reach a depth of 38.1 metres for 41 minutes, and he often dives down to more than 40 metres.
He said his success was down in part to the help received from others such as fellow members of the Akrotiri British Sub Aqua Club, especially David Turner the diving officer his daughter Lyn.
Although the title specifies the world’s oldest male scuba diver, Wooley is in fact the world’s oldest diver overall.
Originally from Port Sunlight in the Wirral, Ray now lives in Ayios Tychonas close to Limassol and likes to swim in his pool every day. He was born in 1923 and first started diving with the Portland and Weymouth British Sub Aqua Club in 1960.
Ray is fit, energetic and promotes a healthy lifestyle. He has encouraged many people to take up diving of all ages, and says ‘you’re never too old to do what you love’.
He served with distinction in the Royal Navy radio branch in WW2, before being seconded to the ‘special boat services’. Whilst working for the British Foreign Office, Ray trained as a radio engineer and was first posted to Cyprus in 1964, where he undertook three tours of duty.
“This has been a great year for me as, much to my surprise, I was also given the Hearts of Gold Cyprus Lifetime Achievement Award, 2017,” he said.
He was presented this accolade by the British High Commissioner to Cyprus, Matthew Kidd and awards honorary patron, Charalampos Theopemptou in December in Paphos.






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