Buenos Aires Hours | Malcolm Hunter OBE, key figure in British community in Argentina, dies at 91

Malcolm Hunter OBE, who died mid-month at the age of 91, is set to become one of the most important leaders the British community has ever had.

Although he chaired the Argentine-British Community Council for only two brief years (1994-1996), he made the ABCC what it is today – not least because he gave it this name. Until his presidency it was called the British Community Council, but changed it to ABCC because it had long since ceased to be uniquely British. Regardless of the fact that virtually all Anglo-Argentines (including himself) were born here, many Britons had married Argentines often with no connection whatsoever to the community, in which he was convinced they should be welcome. He also saw this as a construction for the future by arousing the interest of their children, by forming a youth committee for this purpose.

But aside from these existential decisions defining the identity and philosophy of the community, Hunter has also brought a professional eye to the financial health of the ABCC, introducing a direct debit campaign so members can support the community without have to think about it. after the initial pledge – “the 10 peso a month campaign,” he called it (it doesn’t sound like much now, but those were years of convertibility where one peso was worth a dollar when we had two decades inflation since).

It wasn’t his only fundraising initiative, but Malcolm was always willing to drop a letter of that word – fundraising could be fun in his book too. This is how he organized events such as Les Soirées Musicales à Northland’s to which he brought in residents of the Babs retirement home, Quiz Nights and outdoor activities such as a visit to Martin Garcia Island. , a Tiger regatta, etc. the needy. All of his service to the British community was quickly recognized in the form of an OBE awarded by Queen Elizabeth in 1997, just a year after her presidency.

But Malcolm Hunter’s generosity was not confined only to the British community, working as a volunteer in several charities. He had a soft spot for the blind, recording study books for them on pre-computer days and co-hosting a party for them each November, in which the show was performed by blind people, also reading plays from them to them. theater.

Yet, while deeply believing in community and endowed with the ability to bring people together for a good cause, her main focus in life has always been to help the needy.

“Everything he has done has always been done according to his principles – honesty, respect, truth and love,” says his widow Silvia.

Malcolm Roberto Hunter was born in this town on January 13, 1930 and raised in Temperley. He was educated in St Alban and entered the advertising industry, working for McCann Erickson. Marrying Silvia in 1960 and starting a family, he led a happy and useful life until Argentina’s darkest years, when he became the target of death threats from the guerrillas as a cadre working for the bosses of the United States. He also didn’t feel comfortable with the military dictatorship that followed, and he eventually left the country – first in Brazil, then with McCann Erickson’s relative holding Interpublic in the United States from 1978 to 1982. But the return to democracy also saw him return to Buenos Aires to revive McCann Erickson’s offices there, working as a CFO until his retirement in 1991, which allowed him to work full time. for community activities. For the two years following the ABCC (early 1997 to late 1998) he was a member of the British Society Trust. He has also been running the Chain Gang Lunch Club for as long as we can remember.

A happy and meaningful life in retirement followed, but in the summer of 2015, spinal injuries from a fall from the stairs left him completely paralyzed – a disability bravely born until this month. . According to his close friend Michael Smith, they enjoyed the Tokyo Olympics together so that Malcolm Hunter was clearly full of life until a week before it ended.

Besides Silvia, his devoted wife since 1960, he leaves behind four children – Cecilia, Alfred, Martin and Silvina – 12 grandchildren and five great-granddaughters.

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