The frontier was about to close when Malcolm arrived on the Rock in 1969. Since then, it’s been the outdoors and the forever, lightweight rig-out come rain or shine. “I’ve always worked outdoors in construction and petrol station courtyards on the Rock and I love the fresh air,” Malcolm swears. To boot, he’s been involved in athletics, played football, squash, badminton, tennis and also taken on motorcycling trials, and cycling. The man is a keep-fit junkie! He also spent 30 years in the Gibraltar Regiment (as it was known then) making it to Colour Sergeant where he managed to marry two of his main interests: fitness and the Army (the infantry and ceremonial duties being his love) whilst for good measure, not completely getting away from uniforms right up to the present day, as you may have seen him in his Lord Nelson regalia walking up and down Main Street on important occasions. And throughout all this time, now 75 years old, still going for early morning swims and frequent jogs.
At work, chatty Malcolm has also kept up his forever long and interesting chats at the petrol station ranging from family values, “always in danger of being eroded” he says, supporting youngsters who are our future not by throwing money at them but by getting the right messages across to set them off on the right footing he declares, through to climate change and the environment. And when it comes to Gibraltar, he’s always keen and willing to accompany ministers up the Rock and other places to see how our tourist product can be improved – a truly adopted ‘Yanito’ our Malcolm is!
And so retirement comes to us all and, at well into his septuagenarian run – 75 is more than the right time to retire if you so desire – Malcolm has plenty he wants to get stuck into as he leads into his twilight years. He’s been into sequence and ballroom dancing for quite a few years now and that he certainly wants to keep going with wife Gloria he says. “Well, apart from it being a great leisure pastime meeting friends and making new ones, it is a form of exercise, moving around, in some cases quite quickly,” Malcolm states, and that’s right up his street, is it not?
Meanwhile, he’ll continue with his early morning swims and outings going for a run, although cycling is now out, as it’s become a little dangerous. An accident or two is potentially waiting to happen around a corner or on the open road… sensible! Then there are charities he wants to continue working towards in whichever way possible – Malcolm has always had a soft spot for children’s charities especially, and ‘M the helper’ is forever ready to assist! “But on a more inventive and involved issue, I have a project on hygiene to do with dogs. Squirting water on your pet’s business in the street doesn’t do much. I want to introduce a type of ‘dog pad’ which you’d place under the pet avoiding soiling the ground and getting rid of it in a special way. I also have an idea regarding household waste making sure everything is separated in a proper manner and not disposing it in a sloppy way.” And I’m absolutely sure it doesn’t end there. Malcolm is very active and I’m sure if some project falls by the wayside there’ll be others waiting in the wings heading for fruition in some way or another.
At 75 years old, he still goes for early morning swims.
Over the final couple of weeks at ‘La gasolinera de Malcolm,’ the shelves in the interior of the petrol station have slowly been cleared: pictures, trophies (there were many, son Richard’s too) and other bits and pieces have been removed and conveyed to pastures new and I’m sure nostalgia will haunt Malcolm over time as he jogs past on his way for a morning swim at Camp or Little Bay. As far as we know, the new owners will not be affording the personal touch practiced by Malcolm and other family members over the past 30 odd years – 40 in total manning the pumps when including Shell and Mobil outlets – at the Rosia Road fill-up, petrol station opposite Armstrong’s Steps… You do the filling up yourself from now on just like all other petrol stations on the Rock!
What I’ll miss most is the contact with my customers.
“You know, it’s a strange feeling that comes over you after so many years. I’ve felt emotional, very emotional and what I’ll miss most is the contact with my customers, our little, or long chats, giving them little talks and seeing people happy. I certainly won’t be retiring rich in monetary terms but rich in spirit over all this time. That personal contact with my customers over so many years, I’m going to miss very much”
So, it’s warm wishes looking ahead to the future for Malcolm the chatterer, the good-natured, amiable character, el ‘mine of information,’ the celebrity even… He will man the pumps no more!