The jury values her supportive and altruistic facet, her dedication for decades to local commerce and her involvement with youth and festive organizations in the city.
Benidorm presents the 'Exemplary Neighbor 2023' award to Bárbara Pérez Llinares
Bárbara Pérez Llinares from Benidorm, better known as María del Sufragio, has received today the 'Exemplary Neighbor 2023' award after the appointment of the jury selected by the Neighborhood Council presents this award with which every year the City Council rewards people “who attend outstanding and notable personal, civic and ethical values” that can serve as a reference and inspiration for other citizens. The emotional event was held at noon in the Plenary Hall of the Benidorm City Council.
The delivery of this recognition was carried out for nine editions until the arrival of the pandemic forced the delivery to be paralyzed in 2020, 21, and 22 and now it has resumed again.
The municipal corporation was present at the event with the mayor at the head, the regional deputies Manuel Pérez Fenoll and José Ramón González de Zárate, close friends of the winner, the vice presidents of the Neighborhood Council Antonio Zamora and Francisco Martínez, members of the Neighborhood Council, representatives of the Security Forces and Corps and local civic entities.
María del Sufragio's candidacy as Exemplary Neighbor of 2023 has been endorsed by three entities of recognized prestige and experience in Benidorm: the Spanish Association against Cancer, the Horizontes Scout Group, and the Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno Brotherhood, all of them entities of which he is a part of and into which he has devoted a good part of his life.
Born in Benidorm on February 20, 1942, she married Isidro Pérez Soler, whom she was widowed in 2012. She is the mother of three children, among them the current mayor Toni Pérez, and the grandmother of three grandchildren. After completing primary and high school studies, at the age of 19, she started working at Almacenes Zaragoza, joining the family printing and stationery business 58 years ago, a business that she ran until her retirement.
At the age of 37, she was elected councilor of Benidorm City Council in the 1979-1983 legislature, in the first democratic municipal corporation, after running in the elections for the UDC and being, together with María Zaragoza - also awarded in 2018 as Exemplary Neighbor -, a of the first two women who were councilors with delegations in this Consistory.
She has been a collaborator for more than two decades at the Hermitage of Sanz, dependent on the parish of Nuestra Señora del Mar. She is also an active member of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno Brotherhood; she has belonged to the Parish Council of San Jaime and Santa Ana and different groups and entities in the social and health field, such as Cáritas, the Red Cross, and Spanish Action to Fight Cancer.
She was also a founding member of the Association of Mothers and Fathers of Students (AMPA) of the IES Pere Maria Orts i Bosch and an active member of the Horizontes Scout Group from its foundation in 1978 until September 2015. This organization, through Scouts Valencians, awarded her the Silver Medal of Scout Merit on August 6 for her altruistic dedication for 37 years
In the 90s she was the first woman president of Sant Antoni Festival Committee and has been mayor of Patron Saint's Major Festivals on 14 occasions, on more than ten as the person in charge of queens and ladies, being a herald of the festivities in 2010. and maintainer of the Queens' Coronation in 2015.
The spokesperson for the award commission, Teresa Garrido, was the first to speak to remember that the award was created in 2011 to “recognize a person who was a model of exemplary coexistence for our people” and express the “satisfaction ” of the Council for celebrating the tenth edition.
Behind her, Jesús Rosillo, an exemplary neighbor in 2019 and member of the jury, read the minutes of the deliberations and then the mayor Toni Pérez, and the Councilor for Citizenship Participation, Ana Pellicer, gave María del Sufragio a bouquet, a diploma and the insignia that accredits her as an Exemplary Neighbor of Benidorm.
In her speech, Bárbara Pérez Llinares remembered “the people who have deserved, deserve or will deserve this recognition” and also her husband, of whom she said “Without him my time in politics in that first democratic legislature would not have been possible.” ”. The winner thanked all the entities that have endorsed her candidacy and the Neighborhood Council and stated that “everything I have done has been following two maxims: serving the people of my town without expecting anything in return and trying to leave “This world a little better than I found it.”
The event was closed by the mayor, who said that "it is one of the most important events that Benidorm celebrates" because it is an award "that was born to recognize people who, anonymously, contribute to making a better city." Toni Pérez has also recalled some anecdotes about the winner, her mother, such as the one in which, when she was already eleven years old, she consciously knew that her real name was Bárbara and not María del Sufragio, as everyone knew her.
The mayor has also noted that she "has been part of associative movements when they did not even exist, promoting them and collaborating." Pérez, finally, encouraged us to “always say ‘hello’ to this Benidorm that has soul and essence, the welcoming Benidorm.”
The event was entertained by the teacher of the Municipal Professional Conservatory of Music 'José Pérez Barcelò', Aroa Blanco López, who performed the pieces 'Mariage d'Amour' by Richard Clayderman, 'Waltz number 2' by Dimitri Shostakovich and 'Tico tico no Fubá' by Zequinha de Abreu.
In previous editions of the Exemplary Neighbor Award, the following have been recognized: Francisco Fenoll Rostoll (2011), Antonio Gonzaga Picó (2012), Francisco Alvado Barber (2013), Carmen Cerdá Garrido (2014), María Rosa González Mata-Rubio and Juan José García Albarrán (posthumously in 2015), Casimiro Vila Esteban (2016), Eusebi Chiner Vives (2017), María Zaragoza Lloret (2018) and Jesús Rosillo Jiménez, awarded in 2019, when the award was suspended due to the pandemic.