The Spaniard at Zimapan
Julio Punel Navarro (1942-)
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
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
Photo: Julio P. Navarro with Sylvia's
at Halgarrack Farm, nr. Camborne ca. late 1961
Courtesy of Sylvia Trewern, 2010
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".
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.
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."
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
Photo: Julio Navarro visiting the Dees at Zimapan, March 1964
Courtsey of Irene Adams (née Fulford),
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
1. 61 Maidstone Road, Bowlands Green, London,
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...
1. Sylvia Trewern,
2. Sylvia Trewern,
3. Alfie Moon in BBC1's
4. Pauline Fanning,