IN March 1985, a multi-lingual young woman living in Mijas Pueblo saw an advert from the Mijas Council looking for a translator.
At first, she wasn’t sure but as she spoke six languages (Danish, English, Spanish, German, Norwegian and Swedish) she thought that she stood a chance of getting the job.
There were 60 applicants who went through a number of interviews and tests before the final three were chosen and the now very well-known Annette Skou was appointed and took her role in the old Pueblo town hall just as the foreign visitor boom started.
At that time there was no foreign press and so many people would arrive at the town hall asking for advice about living in Spain that she was inundated and the council agreed that rather than leave her as a translator, she should become the Mijas Foreigners Department, probably the first across the Costa del Sol.
When it got to the stage that there were regular queues waiting to speak to her, it was agreed that the department should be expanded and the other two who had been on the translator shortlist came to work with her.
In 1987, the department was moved to the new town hall in La Cala de Mijas and the role of the department changed so that Annette was able to set up special events and she inaugurated the first International Day to encourage residents from different countries to share their culture.
There were other cultural events to learn about Spanish history and customs, excursions, concerts and festivals of international cuisine and as the years passed so she was able to open an office in Calahonda as well as expanding the department’s presence in La Cala.
Next on the agenda was to form a group to try to help cope with the victims of domestic violence and she recruited some 40 volunteers to help foreigners who don’t speak Spanish to translate for them in hospitals and with official bodies.
She has been delighted with the way in which the foreign press has helped to spread important information to foreign residents and visitors and gave a particular thanks to Euro Weekly News for all that it has done to disseminate council news.
Now after nearly 36 years of service, Annette Skou has just retired from council service and is looking forward to the future with her Spanish artist husband, professional chef son and her large family in Denmark.
Annette won’t however be spending her time just on herself as she is a very active person, a member of the soroptimists and she intends to volunteer with groups that exist to help others.
She is very generous with her praise for all who she has met over the years including past councillors and mayors, consulates in Malaga and different groups and organisations.
Her place will be taken by colleague Katja Thirion and we at the EWN Media Group wish Katje all the best and take this opportunity to thank Annette for all that she has done for the community during her time with the council.