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Michael Mifsud:

lost & found again by Mike Brufal

This is the story of an amazing Gibraltarian who fought his way to the top of the business ladder in the United Kingdom, lost everything in the depression in the ’90s and then clawed his way back: this time on the Costa del Sol. Michael Mifsud, aged 16, against his parents’ wishes, left Gibraltar in the ’60s for the UK with a battered suitcase, £10 in his pocket and all the self confidence in the world with the aim of becoming a rich man. What was incredible was he had no plan and few contacts. He had to live by his wits and create every opportunity that came his way. Michael was an evacuation baby born in 1942 in Mona camp, Jamaica. His father’s family emigrated from Valetta, Malta and bought land in Gibraltar near the Mount where they became known as the Shorthorn farmers eventually supplying the City with most of its dairy products. Michael’s mother, Isabel Canilla Morejon, was a descendant of the Duke of Ahumada and a relative of Bishop Canilla. He has a blood link with the Emperor Montezuma of Mexico as the Emperor’s granddaughter married a prominent member of the Ahumada family. Michael opines that he is a direct descendant of the Emperor. Mifsud was educated at St. Joseph’s School, Scud Hill and then the Gibraltar Grammar School. His peers called him ‘the professor’ as he came first in all examinations. He left school to go on a Cable and Wireless engineering course and decided this was not for him. During his spare time he became involved in amateur dramatics which turned him into a lifelong aficionado of the theatre. Those close to him point to his experience as an actor during some

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of his business deals — to this day his face gives no indication of what he is thinking. Needless to say the £10 did not last long and with a sense of desperation he walked to the Cable and Wireless Head Office in the Strand where a Mr Davies, who had heard about him from Gibraltar, took him under his wing and became his mentor. Money for day-to-day living expenses was earned as a temporary secretary. In those days male secretaries were few and far between. By chance the temporary positions en-

Aged 19 he became the deputy track manager of the White City stadium where his main responsibility was to run the many bars surrounding the dog track

abled him to meet a variety of employers in the political and entertainment sectors. One such employer was Alan Sapper who became a close friend and went on to be the General Secretary of the powerful Association of Cinematograph, Television and Allied Technicians. Aged 19 he became the deputy track manager of the White City stadium where his main responsibility was to run the many bars surrounding the dog track which enabled him to meet many Gibraltarians who visited ‘the dogs’. He swiftly appreciated that academic qualifications were needed to boost his seven O Levels. Concentrated studying in the evenings and weekends produced the required A Level passes which would have enabled him to enrol in Birbeck College, London University. However General Franco imposed the 15th economic siege on his beloved homeland and he decided to forsake university to write about the Gibraltar problem in many Gibraltar papers and also to brief Parliamentarians at Westminster and journalists in Fleet Street. The Link Magazine was started and published for several years

GIBRALTAR MAGAZINE • JULY 2009

The Gibraltar Magazine July 09  

The Gibraltar Magazine online

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