IVANHOE – not the brave knight from the big screen, but the name of a hotel Gibraltarians stayed at in London during the evacuation. That is where our subject’s dad stayed, as he did, so goalkeeper Medina senior took the name to form the Ivanhoe football team, part of the London Gibraltar League Association playing for trophies in the London capital during WW2.
Not surprisingly, and in tribute to his dad, Alfred also chose the name for his hard-working charitable organisation. And so the Gibraltar Ivanhoe Society (Charity No. 43) was set up in the mid 80s. “Even earlier I took to raising money for those in need of help, however little I was able to collect. I collected for St Vincent de Paul Society in those early days in the 70s and for individuals requiring assistance.”
During the 50s and 60s Alfred lived in the Nissen huts on Devil’s Tower Road, an experience which stayed with him in later years which maybe consciously or subconsciously drove him to assist those needing help, whoever they were. “In 1986 together with Lionel Linares we formed the Ivanhoe charity and started to collect for other charities and individuals simply by requesting donations from individuals in the street, face to face. We also approached businesses and firms in town, who still support us to this day, but never overdid it by going to them too often, something they appreciate.”
We realised his foot was under one of the cycle’s wheels, poor man!
Walking marathons seem to have been Alfred and his team’s favourite fund-raising means over the years… “Our volunteers have walked from many Spanish cities and towns to the Rock for many years now. Malaga to Gib with Julio Pons and Charlie Collinson was one of the first walks undertaken way back, but since then we’ve walked from Granada (about 300 km), Puerto de Santa Maria, Cordoba, Huelva, Jaen, Almeria and many other places raising funds for a number of associations and for purchasing items of equipment, like a motor scooter for Father Little who was HM’s Prison Chaplain (where I was a Prison Officer), a music system for the old St Bernard’s hospital (raising £6,000 which was a large some all those years ago) and a hoist for the Therapeutic Pool Albert Hammond provided for Gibraltar’s disabled, amongst other items.”
The many helpers Alfred is grateful to for coming onboard for all the activities that have been organised over the years are too many to mention and whilst not mentioning any names, Alfred assures, he and the team are appreciative of their assistance!
No politics, just a nice touch of decent humanity.
The Ivanhoe Charity has a little office on Castle Road, just below Sacred Heart Church and welcomes anyone seeking advice or wanting to become a member for just £5 a year. There are now about 200 members and BBQs and dinners are organised most years. Even at 76, caring for others has become a way of life for Alfred, who says he doesn’t really know when he’ll call it a day. He talks about the need for youngsters to come forward and take over the reins, but I’m certain he will continue to at least remain as an overseer of the charity’s work for a long time to come.
There are so many events the Ivanhoe Charity has been involved in, making it hard for Alfred to highlight just a few: “They’ve all been important in one way or another, large or small, they’ve all been special and a pleasure to work for and help in whichever way possible”. As an example, he tells me about a football team put together many years ago involving ‘Las Viejas Glorias’ comprising older gentlemen, some of whom were former amateur players, to help raise funds for the Paul Henwood appeal to send the young man to the UK for treatment. They raised £90 a long time ago and it’s said, every penny counts!
“We’ve collected for the Diabetic Association, The Lady Williams Day Care Centre in Devil’s Tower Road and now on South Barack Road, and the Prostate Cancer Group – and there are others.” He’s still involved with Special Olympics – he’s travelled abroad as a trainer and helper – and the list goes on and on. As a Prison Officer – and even now long retired – he’s organised marathons in the prison amongst the prison inmates and parties for the inmates’ children whilst supporting a prison fund.
Alfred says, “I recall doing a ‘four-wheel cycle’ marathon with Lionel Linares, being seen off from the Convent by Governor Sir Peter Terry. He would not move and we waited and waited until we realised his foot was under one of the cycle’s wheels, poor man! On another marathon occasion, walking in Spain, we came across two seniors sitting on a wall who were surprised to see us walking along this back road. We explained we were from Gibraltar on a charity walk and one of them said wait a minute and gave us a five euro note which was amazing; no politics, just a nice touch of decent humanity.”
At the same time Alfred tells me he sometimes comes across obstacles… “But we always manage to win over them!” and the marathons continue in a variety of ways… or walks. A five-kilometre walk a day for a year, three months of 10-kilometre days, and other permutations, including an ‘Alfred only’ marathon… He just doesn’t stop!
He set up ‘The Great Escape’ where he ‘escaped’ from prison on the Rock and walked to a Spanish town miles away in a prison uniform complete with ball and chain. He was then ‘captured’ and put in prison in the Spanish town… all for charity!
Teddybears collected by chess genius Stephen Whatley’s dad and given to every child in hospital have also received donations from the Ivanhoe charity’s endeavours. Alfred tells me they haven’t held a Flag Day for quite a few years and are planning to re-start the event soon. In a few months time you too can help by purchasing an Ivanhoe Charity 2020 calendar, comprising photos and illustrations covering the many deeds undertaken by Ivanhoe through the years.
Our Ivanhoe charity kingpin also keeps up to date by attending important meetings and conferences held here and elsewhere concerning any changes in rules and regulations regarding charities and fundraising.
For over four decades, Alfred has gone about his fundraising without much fuss, always keeping a low profile. It’s been said he was first to raise the largest amounts in the early years.
It’s clear that ‘charity fundraising’ and ‘Alfred Medina’ go inextricably hand in hand.