Hi, my name is Lynne and I have been lucky to call Gran Alacant home for the last 6 years.  People fascinate me and I love to hear about their adventures and life stories.  Over the next few months, I will be sharing some interviews with GA’s very own Superstars! 

This month’s interview is with Lillian Goldsbrough. Originally, from Sydney, Australia Lillian came to Spain for the first time in 1968.

Hello Lillian, can you tell me about your family

“I married an Interior Designer and Painter from Madrid and we had 3 children.  My eldest was made in Spain and born in Australia and my youngest was made in Australia and born in Spain.  My  daughter is married and lives in Madrid.  She has a very talented 11-year-old daughter who has starred on stage in the musicals Annie and Matilda.  My eldest son lives in Madrid and runs his own business academy.  He and his wife have a daughter 19 and son 13.  My youngest is the creative genius of our family and is at University studying Sound Imaging and Composing.”Lillian’s grandchildren call her Nonna (Italian for Gran). 

What did you do when you were working? 

“I trained as a nurse and worked in public then military nursing during the Vietnam War.” Whilst in the military Lillian also went on to study dental nursing. 

Lillian decided to travel for 2 years at a very young age.  She left Australia on a ship that took 5 ½  weeks to get to Southampton.  During her travels, she visited New Zealand, Tahiti, Mexico, and Portugal.  Her favourite place was Acapulco, which she described as “a real eye opener”.  Lillian explained, “I watched tiny tots painting souvenirs on the streets to earn a living.  It was such a humbling experience for me. 

I had lived a very sheltered life within a loving and protective family. I felt like a 

different person returning from my travels.  Stronger, better and grateful for the experience.”

Whilst in Spain Lillian worked selling magazine subscriptions direct to directors of companies. This is how she met her husband. When the family moved to Australia in 1971, she was not permitted to return to military nursing as a married woman so went on to do teaching, which she did until the family returned to Spain in 1984.   

What brought you to GA? 

“I came to GA on my own when I retired in 2011.  I liked the thought of living in a warmer coastal area with longer springs and autumns.  The links to the airport and train were also a big advantage for me.  We used to have a holiday apartment in Torrevieja, I had also lived in Alicante City for a while, but I missed having outside space. GA has everything I need, I enjoy living here.  I appreciate all my friends and I have a happy life balance.”

Lillian, what do you enjoy doing?

“I love walking. 

 I get great pleasure exploring, whether it is my new home Spain or old home Australia and anywhere in between. I love architecture, old and new, modern art and traditional.  I love exploring big cities, ancient villages, nature, climbing and taking risks.”

Lillian is a member of the English book club, Spanish book club, pétanque group, singing group, 2 walking clubs, French class once a week and the ladies lunch group.  She speaks English, Spanish, French and Italian.

Lillian tells me about her passion for travel.  In the last 8 years, she has been fortunate enough to visit Europe on 5 cruises and she has been around the world 5 times!  After Covid lockdown, she promised herself that she would visit a different part of Spain 1 week out of every month.

I ask Lillian if there are any countries left on her ‘Bucket List’.  She surprises me by telling me she has always wanted to go to Greece but has not been yet. 

What has been some of your highlights on your travels?

“I once went on safari where the jeep broke down at nightfall. The guide was terrified.  We had to walk around 40 minutes with the danger of the wild animals finding us.  I have flown over the Gran Canyon, I have run with the bulls in Pamplona at the San Fermin’s festival and I have walked on a hanging walkway around a mountain.  El Camino Del Rey was also a memorable experience for me.”

Lillian, how would you describe yourself?

“I am a fruit salad. I am quite shy and studious, but I can also be a bit crazy and daring.”

What do you do in your spare time?

“I enjoy listening to choirs, opera, jazz, rock and rap.  I love people watching.  I volunteer with SAT, Spanish Cancer Association and National Food Bank to keep me on my toes!”

The first time I met Lillian was at an Aqua Aerobics class at Santara Resort. I used to hate teaching Aqua. She kindly gave me some constructive feedback on how I could improve as an Aqua Instructor and now I love teaching it. After the indoor swimming pool closed down, Lillian helped me find a new venue for outdoor Aqua classes. I asked her to be my translator at a meeting with Bernar, a new Spanish venue owner at the time. During the meeting, she impressed me so much with her confidence, likeability and energy. I am very grateful to Lillian; thanks to her, I now teach from Bernar’s Place and have met so many wonderful people over the years because of it. 

Thank you for your beautiful energy, zest for life, positivity and kind heart Lillian.