25 Feb, 2012 @ 10:00
1 min read

I only married because Franco shut the border

HIS office is literally teeming with soldiers, caricatures and models, the fruits of 52 years of collecting.

But what really catches the eye are the photographs, in particular him with the Queen (‘a lovely lady’ who he has met three times) and Margaret Thatcher (‘another lovely lady’) to name but a few.

Solomon Levy MBE – more commonly known as ‘Momy’ – was Gibraltar’s first civic mayor; and is a successful estate agent, the only auctioneer on the Rock and a die hard Arsenal fan.

The 75-year-old is also a staunch royalist, a fact quickly gleaned from the enormous poster perched on top of his office celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year.

“My idols though are Winston Churchill, and Nelson,” explains Momy, a dapper gentleman, who today sports a pin-striped suit with a red waistcoat and colourful bow-tie.

“Nelson had one eye and one arm and look what he did. Imagine if he had had two eyes and two arms! He would have conquered the world.

“And Churchill saved the world from tyranny. If it was not for him, as a Jew I might not be alive,” he adds, pointing to a photo of him in a sports car from his ‘bachelor days’.

“I call it my ‘password,’ I was the king of the road in that car and used to go from here to Marbella meeting girls. I used to joke that I only got married because Franco closed the border!”

The lucky woman was Sarah, with whom he has been married for 43 years. Between them they have five children and 23 grandchildren.

But while clearly Jewish, he is fiercely proud of of his Gibraltarian roots.

“I am 100 per cent Gibraltarian. My family has been here for 250 years,” he explains.

In fact his late uncle was Sir Joshua Hassan, the first Chief Minister, who ruled for nearly two decades.

“I am very proud to live here. We get the best of all worlds here. We are British and also Gibraltarian.

I was only the mayor for one year, but it is the greatest honour of my life.

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