The Malta Independent 28 June 2022, Tuesday

Appreciation: Carm Zerafa

Thursday, 5 May 2022, 11:33 Last update: about 3 months ago

It was with deep sadness that I heard of the demise of my friend Carm Zerafa in London. He was 90 years old.

His connections with Malta were known by many, especially snooker enthusiasts. In fact, Carm became a well known personality in Malta, especially through his sponsorship of the then 15-year-old Tony Drago.

It was thanks to Zerafa’s involvement that Drago could start a professional career which gave him a good number of satisfactions. Zerafa also sponsored former Malta champion Joe Grech (who passed away last year) as the latter took part in some international tournaments in Britain in the 1980s.

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Apart from the sponsorship of Drago and Grech, Zerafa was also instrumental in organising what must have been the first Invitation Snooker tournament in Malta at the Ta’ Qali pavilion, in May 1981. He organised that tournament funded by Medallion Holidays, of which he was managing director, and the prize money amounted to £10,000 – quite a considerable amount that time.

It was a tournament which brought over to Malta some of the world’s top class players of those days, including Ray Reardon, Doug Mountjoy, the legendary Alex Higgins and Cliff Thorburn. Maltese top amateur players Paul Mifsud and Joe Grech also took part.

Zerafa was also well known by the thousands of Maltese who lived in the UK those days.

It was on one of his initiatives that the Maltese Movement UK was formed. The Movement became so popular that it claimed to have had more than 46,000 members during the 1970s and early 1980s.

In April 1960, he also pioneered the first chartered flight from London to Malta for members of the Movement. Later Zerafa was instrumental in bringing over to Malta an estimated 500,000 visitors to Malta between 1972 and 1988. 

The drive, focus and dedication which Carm Zerafa injected into the Maltese Movement in the 1970s was the single most important element which made the UK’s Maltese Movement one of the principal pioneers of tourism to Malta as well as a significant contributor to the growth and development of Air Malta in those early days.

Henry Brincat

 

 

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