The costas he was not

LAST UPDATED: 2 Apr, 2009 @ 17:16
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The costas he was not

‘HE was to the Serrania de Ronda what Gerald Brenan was to the Alpujarras,’ said one.

Either way, romantic writer Alastair Boyd – aka Lord Kilmarnock – fought for the local environment of Ronda right up to his death.

At a memorial service to his life, dozens of environmentalists paid tribute – and even donated a poem to the man known as ‘Mister Boyd’.

Boyd, who first fell in love with Ronda in 1953, fought passionately to preserve and protect his adopted home. He wrote books on the region and spearheaded campaigns to clean the river and fought a project to build a double golf course scheme.

At the service, the priest praised Boyd’s ability to break down barriers and involve the community in his campaigns. His son Jaime, who accepted an environmental award on his behalf, said he had been extremely proud of his father.

“He fell in love with the nature here and always had a very romantic idea of Spain.”

Biologist Andrés Rodríguez González recalled Boyd’s community spirit. “He took the safeguarding of the environment very seriously indeed. His contribution to the struggle to clean up the River Guadiaro was immense.”

Boyd’s brother and successor to the title of Lord Kilmarnock, Robin Boyd, said: “He stood for everything the costas is not,” he said. “He was modest and unassuming in all his deeds and would have made a good diplomat.”

The irony of this was not lost on Robin, who was all too aware of the court case brought against Boyd by developers for publicly criticising their plans.

One of his fellow co-accused Petra Wiegmink, who was also sued for seven million euros by developers JM Legion Espanola, explained: “It was a stupid, crazy accusation. He had become involved in a very innocent way but felt it keenly when he was implicated.”

The negative affects of the court case were a distant memory at the memorial service.

The congregation gathered to eat, drink, laugh and remember the ex-patriot they adopted as their own and who fought alongside them to preserve their community.

“Even when he was suffering with ill health Alastair always had a smile and a kind word for everyone,” said Wiegmink.

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  1. Nicely done, Olive Press. I wanted to write a short note in appreciation of Boyd’s pen. Boyd’s stories about his horseback excursions from Ronda to different points in Spain were delightful. I was never a big fan of the horse flesh. But Boyd’s books were all about the stories. And many of those stories danced on paper. Friends tell me he never made much from these books (Road from Ronda, Santana Press). But they certainly had a following among writers & journalists.

    About ten years ago, we bought a home near his former language school. During our short time in Ronda, I can’t tell you how many people inquired about Boyd and whether he still lived in Ronda. Those questions always put a smile on my face. A smart Hispanophile, no doubt. I usually directed them to small Spanish bookshop, where Boyd sometimes hung out with the owner. Sipping coffee, taking brandy and telling stories.

    Hats off, Mr. Boyd.

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