Dedication, courage and inspiration- all honoured at
Hearts of Gold annual awards
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.
Al Habrat from Paphos and nine-year-old Emma Savva from
Larnaca were announced as this year’s adult and junior
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.
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.”
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
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
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.
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.
www.heartsofgoldcyprus.com and Hearts of Gold Cyprus on
Paphos resident recognised in
Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2018
By staff reporter
BRITISH expat resident of Paphos has been awarded an honour
in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List 2018.
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
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
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.
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’.
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
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.
to support ‘cat lady’
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.”
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,”
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
He added that he is pleased that so many
customers are choosing to return to the area year after
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.
that this Constantiou hotel ‘fan club’ are a valuable asset
to the group and would be at any hotel.
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
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
Blaga Petkova said that the kindness
from strangers has been overwhelming.
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
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,”
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
“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.)
show in 2018 to raise thousands for Pasykaf
By Bejay Browne
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.
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
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
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.
information- 99 254491 or send an email to:
Oldest animal shelter may be forced to close
By Bejay Browne
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.
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.
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.
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.
1994 it changed to Paphiakos and CCP Animal Welfare with the
aim of promoting and improving animal welfare throughout
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.
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
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
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
Ray’s dive saw him reach a depth of 38.1
metres for 41 minutes, and he often dives down to more than
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.
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.
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