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Surprise party for Age in Spain Good Neighbour Award winner.

A woman holding a certificate chatting with a man
Giulia de Santo Wood and the Mayor of Iznajar

Giulia de Santo Wood lives in Iznájar, Cordoba, who was honoured in a surprise party by her local community as an Age in Spain Good Neighbour Award winner.

Giulia’s family are Italian and she lived in Italy for 20 years, but she arrived in Spain eight years ago and ‘not being someone to sit back and do nothing’ immediately got involved in helping others. She describes her local community as fifty per cent Spanish people and fifty per cent incomers of different nationalities, particularly British and Dutch.  She says it’s a nice place where people work in the olive groves from November – March, and become house painters in the summer months. She accompanies people as their interpreter to hospital visits, helps people through bereavement, goes to house viewings where technical detail may be difficult to understand without the language, and has been known to help when a car has broken down. 

Three women hugging each other
Giulia's mother and her best friend make a surprise visit from Italy to add to the occasion

Giulia was nominated for doing all the things that a good neighbour might be expected to do and received commendation in the Age in Spain Good Neighbour Award scheme. Local residents were so delighted that they organised a special surprise party for her on Saturday 16th March, which was attended by a host of well-wishers, including those whom Giulia has touched with her generosity over the years. The Mayor of Iznájar, Lope Ruiz and Councillor Toñi Gómez were present to personally congratulate Giulia and present her with the well-deserved certificate. Adding to the joyous occasion, Giulia's mother and best friend flew in from Italy to surprise her, making the celebration even more special.


Giulia's nomination for the Good Neighbour Award came from two individuals who recognized her unwavering dedication to helping others. The surprise party was expertly organized by the nominators and local Age in Spain volunteer Marijke Cazemier (pictured below right in green) who arranged a raffle that raised €145 to support Age in Spain's vital work to help older people.

A woman receiving a certificate from a man at a party
Giulia receiving her award from the Mayor of Iznajar

Praising the support that Spanish families give to one another, particularly to their elderly relatives, Giulia explains that, by contrast, many immigrants to Spain don’t have that support. The Spanish health service provides excellent support, she points out, but many people don’t know how to access it. She looks out for people who find themselves in that position, acknowledging that one day she might need help herself. 

Her nominators testify to her utter selflessness, but she downplays that.

‘I don’t have children, so the day might come when I, too, am in need of that kind of help.’ 

She’s hoping there might be a Giulia around to help her if that time comes. 


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