IN a year full of big names, the Olive Press has compiled its own roll call of 2014 personalities who deserve to take a bow.
Man of the year: Pablo Iglesias
THE rise of the pony-tailed Podemos leader sparked a much-needed shake-up to the status quo that even mystic Meg could not have foreseen.
Since the anti-corruption party emerged this year, claiming five MEP seats in June, their popularity has grown exponentially.
And with the general election coming up this year, Spain’s two-party power-lock looks set to be rocked to its foundations by the ‘purple party’.
Woman of the year: Judge Alaya
SPAIN’S unstoppable judge has earned star status since her involvement in the ongoing ERE case.
Thrust into the media limelight, Alaya has continued to expose bent politicians in Andalucia’s largest public money scandal.
And with King Felipe calling for a nationwide clampdown on the country’s corruption, the tireless work of people like Alaya deserves credit for starting the ball rolling.
Sportsperson of the year: Dani Alves
THE world went bananas for Dani Alves in 2014 after the Barcelona right-back responded to racist fans by eating a banana thrown at him.
The incident sparked an Instagram revolution, with stars around the globe posing with bananas in support of the man from Brazil.
Child of the year: Ashya King
A ROLLERCOASTER year for brave brain cancer boy Ashya King looks to have ended on a high note.
The five-year-old, recovering from treatment at his parents’ holiday home in Malaga, has reportedly taken his first unassisted steps and is ‘improving every day’.
Criminal of the year: Nigel Goldman
HE fled the Costa del Sol in a cloud of smoke after losing hundreds of thousands of euros of his clients’ money last Christmas.
But the investment conman has had anything but a smooth year since.
After his English country hide-out was exposed in the Olive Press in June, Goldman – now Howard Del Monte – was forced to flee to a new home, and a new eBay account.
Expat of the year: Michael Owens
ANIMAL activist Michael Owens leapt to the Olive Press’ attention after rounding up more than 65,000 signatures calling for an end to ‘cruel and painful’ pony carousels in Mijas.
And it worked; they are now banned.
Other key names in 2014:
CONGRATULATIONS to Andy Chapell and Pauline Elkin at Hotel Molino del Santo, for another year at the helm of one of Spain’s best hotels.
The Molino del Santo was crowned Spain’s second best hotel in June by travel website TripAdvisor, and scooped a coveted Travellers’ Choice award.
Meanwhile love was in the air for The Beach House owner Guy McCrow at his August wedding to his beautiful wife Lucy.
The beachside wedding featured paddling, dogs and some dramatic acrobatics from an Andalucian horse.
And Guy wasn’t the only one to tie the knot. La Sala Group chairman Ian Radford also said ‘I do’, with former Big Brother contestant and long-term partner Claire Strutton.
The fairytale ceremony in Buckinghamshire lasted four days, with guests including footballers David Bentley and Stephen Carr.
And finally a big thankyou goes to Cudeca founder Joan Hunt OBE who retired in April after more than two decades as president of the cancer care hospice foundation.
The 85-year-old made the grand announcement during the presentation of the hospice’s annual report, which revealed revenues of more than €3 million.
Cudeca named lawyer Ricardo Urdiales as her successor.