‘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.