RESTAURATEUR Elliott Wright told EWN he now understands why he loves Costa del Sol so much after celebrity cousin Mark Wright appeared on the BBC One show Who Do You Think You Are?
The former TOWIE star, now a US TV presenter, appeared on the factual show where researchers’ ancestry search revealed the cousins’ great grandfather nine-times removed, Antonio Mendoza, was a 17th Century master swordsman from Andalucia.
They also found out his nephew, their cousin five times removed called Daniel Mendoza, was a feared East End boxer who later made it into American boxing publication, Ring Magazine’s, Hall of Fame.
Also a huge fan of Marbella, Mark quipped “That’s my blood. Straight outta Marbs,” when he found out on the show, adding of the master swordsman: “he was a proper legend.”
Elliott, owner of Olivia’s Restaurant in La Cala, Mijas Costa, told EWN: “The BBC traced our roots back to Marbella and a guy called Antonio Mendoza. He was Jewish but practised to be a Catholic because at that time they had outlawed any other religions.
“Back in those days it was quite an honour, a big thing for only honourable people, so it’s nice to hear he was that sort of person.
“Then there was an issue that he was Jewish and he was given two years in prison and tortured. He escaped and went to Amsterdam and then to London.
“It’s strange that I’ve come here to run the restaurant and now I find out I’m in the same coastline as my ancestors.
“The Mendoza name is still a prominent and powerful name in Spain.”
Elliott explained that Mark was told by the BBC he would not know exactly where he was going to record the show but that he had roots somewhere in Europe. He was blindfolded as he got on the plane.
Elliott added: “He was basically told that where he landed would be where his ancestors were from. I asked him to ring me when he got there, to let me know where he was. He later rang and said “you better get a table ready for two, I’m here”.
“Mark was staying in Jaen and came to Olivia’s for dinner. He explained that they researchers found another guy called Daniel Mendoza, Antonio’s nephew and our cousin, who was a boxer.
“This showed a bit of a theme. He was a boxer and American boxing publication Ring Magazine entered him into the Hall of Fame. Coincidentally, my grandad Edward Wyatt was a boxing champion. The BBC did not have enough time to cover this angle in depth.
“All the way through our family there have been character’s like this. All of this reinforces the fact I have always felt at home in Spain. I have spent more than 50 per cent of my life here. I was in Alicante but never felt the same as I do here in Costa del Sol. I love it here, I feel more at home than I do in the UK. Now I can see why, part of our family came from here.”
He went on to say: “This information is the greatest perk of being a celebrity there could be, something the whole family can share. My kids and my grandchildren will all know where we came from now. We can leave a legacy for the kids. It has affected the whole family, every one of us has benefited positively from this and it goes on forever.”