The Zimapanners

 

 

 

 

                                                

 

The Spaniard at Zimapan

Biography

Julio Punel Navarro (1942-)

 

Background 

Julio Punel Navarro was born in Toledo, Spain in about 1942. He was the son of an ice-cream entrepreneur whose father's business is thought to have gone bankrupt around the time Julio came to England. Julio had at least two elder sisters. 

 

Spaniard at Zimapan (1960-1962)

In the early 1960s, Pauline Fanning remembers meeting a Spanish lad called Julio Navarro whom Joseph had ''sponsored''1. Until now, the nature of this sponsorship was not known. However, Sylvia Trewern (née Freeman) who met Julio one night in 1960 at Old Time Dancing evenings she attended every Friday night in Camborne, now confirms that Julio came to England to "perfect his English and that Mr Dee would have his sponsor. Julio chose Cornwall so he could be near his elder sister, Rosario Navarro, who was working as a nurse at the Truro Infirmary.2 

 

Julio P Navarro with Sylvia's mother at 'Halgarrack Farm' ca. 1962

Photo: Julio P. Navarro with Sylvia's mother

at Halgarrack Farm, nr. Camborne ca. late 1961

Courtesy of Sylvia Trewern, 2010

Old Time Dancing
Julio always came every Friday with the Dees, Sylvia who says she was a "shy 16-year-old" then, found Mr Dee "rather remote and severe". Julio was about 18 or 19. During those evenings, Julio, Sylvia and the Dees danced the Gay Gordons, the Military Quickstep and the St Bernard's Waltz. Although Sylvia claims that she was "so engrossed in Julio" that she didn't notice a lot of things going on around her, she vividly recalls Mrs Dee wearing "fabulous evening clothes to the Special Balls". Moreover, Julio's sharp dressing and the Shane Ritchie3 good looks also caught her eye. "Julio was always beautifully dressed in very white shirts and a tie most of the time".  

Shared passions

Sylvia, who was born in Penzance but who lived with her parents at Halgarrack Farm, Praze-an-Beeble, Camborne, Cornwall, introduced Julio to her parents who were delighted to meet Julio and he became very fond of them too. She and Julio dated for about a year. ''It was my first love. A very innocent romance by today's standards.'' Their shared passions were dancing and Elvis Presley, especially ''Are You Lonesome Tonight?''.  

 

African masks at Zimapan

On one occasion when visiting Zimapan, Sylvia recalls one of the rooms there filled with African masks. ''It was very interesting, but the room where they hung seemed very cold, dark and gloomy to me". Julio and Sylvia could not always meet when they wanted to because "Mr Dee was strict about Julio having to study. Given that Mr Dee was sponsoring Julio, this now makes sense", says Sylvia. 

 

Drifted apart

During the summer of 1961, Julio had a holiday job working in one of the big hotels there. Eventually Julio and Sylvia went their separate ways. The last letter Julio wrote to Sylvia was written in Falmouth in December 1961, when he was soon to return to Spain. "We didn't intend to drift apart, but being young, other boys and events took over, and I expect he had other girlfriends back in Spain."  

 

Amateur boxing

Sylvia recently learned on good authority - an old school pal in Cornwall who, at that time, was still in contact with the Dees - that after Sylvia met her first husband, Julio continued to go to Old Time Dancing evenings in Camborne. Apparently, he then went to Germany in around 1962 or 1963 to perfect his German and took up amateur boxing there. 

 

Zimapan (1964)

 

Julio Navarro, Zimapan, Mar 1964

Photo: Julio Navarro visiting the Dees at Zimapan, March 1964

Courtsey of Irene Adams (née Fulford), 2011

 

Other addresses4 

What became of Julio after then is not known. At some stage Julio lived in both the following addresses, but whether it was before or after Cornwall is not known. 

1. 61 Maidstone Road, Bowlands Green, London, N11. 

2. 19 Hawthorne Avenue, Eastcote, Ruislip, Middlesex. 

 
If you know/knew Julio, please get in touch with the author as Sylvia would like to re-establish contact...  

Footnotes

1. Sylvia Trewern, 2010.

2. Sylvia Trewern, 2010.

3. Alfie Moon in BBC1's Eastenders.

4. Pauline Fanning, 2009.