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6 The Portugal News •  17 Mar 2018                                 News

      Algarve golf pioneer John Stilwell dies age 92                                                                                N N N N N  CARRIE-MARIE


                                                                                John Stillwell, founder of the Algarve’s renowned Penina
                                                                                Hotel and creator of the region’s very first golf course, died
                                                                                last week following an illustrious role as a pioneer of tourism
                                                                                in the Algarve.

                                                                                       ritish           and said, ‘You’d better  friends with John Stilwell’s
                                                                                       entrepreneur     come up with something’.  grandmother.
                                                                                       John Benedict      “We looked at a little  Over the years, Penina
                                                                                BStilwell died          hotel in Praia da Rocha,  played host to a flow of
                                                                                “peacefully, at home” last  but it was too expensive to  stars and celebrities,
                                                                                Thursday at the age of 92,  do up, so I went looking for  including Bing Crosby and
                                                                                according to his family.  an alternative.”      Sir Paul McCartney.
                                                                                 His funeral took place on  Along with several other  But perhaps one of the
                                                                                Monday at 3pm at the    partners, he purchased the  most poignant chapters in
                                                                                Santo André church in   146 hectares that were  Penina’s and Portugal’s
                                                                                Penina, where in 2014, the  mainly rice fields – “there  history is that it was also
                                                                                family patriarch had    was a lot of water here” -  there that the Alvor
                                                                                attended its 40th       and invited golfing legend  Agreements were signed
                                                                                anniversary service.    Henry Cotton to design the  after the historic 25 April
                                                                                 The RTA Algarve        course.                 Revolution in 1974.
                                                                                regional tourism board has  On 5 November, 1966,  An accord was made
                                                                                paid tribute to “one of the  the Algarve’s first 18-hole  between the Portuguese
                                                                                founding fathers of Algarve  golf course was    Government and three of
                                                                                tourism”, saying it     inaugurated by Portugal’s  Angola’s leading freedom
                                                                                “profoundly lamented” his  then President, Américo  movements (the MPLA, the
                                                                                death.                  Tomás.                  FNLA and UNITA), to give
                                                                                 John Stilwell was born in  Cotton famously     the colony independence.
                                                                                Lisbon in 1925 to a British  described Penina in his  Unbeknown to many, it
                                                                                father and Portuguese   biography as his “greatest  was signed in one of the
                                                                                mother.                 achievement”, and is    rooms at Penina.
                                                                                 In 1943 he voluntarily  buried in nearby         Desidério Silva, head of
                                                                                joined the British Army to  Mexilhoeira Grande, in a  the RTA, said the region is
                                                                                fight in the Second World  spot overlooking the  “indebted” to Stilwell “for
                                                                                War and was posted to   course.                 daring to dream of building
                                                                                Italy, where he jokingly  The resort went on to  the first five-star hotel and
                                                                                recalled in an interview  become the Algarve’s first  the first golf course in the
                                                                                    The Portugal News
                                                                                with  The Portugal NewsThe Portugal News  five-star hotel, dressed  region, without which we
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                                                                                several years ago, walking  with extraordinary historic  may not today be a tourist
                                                                                – “not all in one go” – from  artefacts deriving from the  destination of
                                                                                Naples to Trieste.      Stilwell family’s fascinating  internationally-recognised
                                                                                 He envisaged the Penina  ties, among them a 16th  excellence for the practice
                                                                                Hotel and Golf Course   century wardrobe, a     of the sport.”
                                                                                while on holiday with a  snooker table originally  He added “The last 50
                                                                                group of friends in Praia da  given to the Royal British  years of Algarve tourism
                                                                                Rocha in 1961.          Club, of which Mr.      have been shaped by the
                                                                                 Just five years later his  Stilwell’s brother was  bold and innovative vision
                                                                                vision became reality.  chairman, by King Edward  of John Stilwell in luxury
                                                                                 “One of my friends     VII, and a piano gifted by  hotels, golf and real estate
                                                                                pointed out that there was  Portugal’s Queen Dona  tourism, where he
      Algarve golf pioneer John Stilwell died last Thursday at the age of 92. (Photo: Supplied)  very little to do in the winter,  Amélia, who was good  pioneered”.
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