Kidderminster pensioner visits party island 100-plus times

Kidderminster Shuttle: FEELING AT HOME: Ken Darby with a ceramic figurine from San Antonio. Picture: Phil Loach. FEELING AT HOME: Ken Darby with a ceramic figurine from San Antonio. Picture: Phil Loach.

IT is a place normally associated with hardcore clubbers but for pensioner Ken Darby Ibiza has become his second home.

The 80-year-old has holidayed on the Spanish island more than 100 times after falling in love with the place on his first visit in the 1960s, when it first welcomed tourists.

Mr Darby, of Kidderminster, has become somewhat of a celebrity in Ibiza after featuring in newspapers, TV and radio due to his loyalty to San Antonio.

He was also presented with a silver plaque and awards from the Ministry of Tourism during a special presentation evening to mark his 100th visit. His partner Joyce Murphy, 79, also received flowers.

Mr Darby, a former assistant technical director at Victoria Carpets, paid just £17 for his first holiday to the island and stays at the same hotel - Hotel Hawaii Ibiza - every time.

He said: "I used to do quite a lot of hours at work so I went there on holiday and they made me very welcome with the way they treated me. I went back a second time and it grew from there. I have made an awful lot of friends over the years."

He added he has been visiting the island about three times a year for the past 45 years, adding he was honoured to have received the plaque.

"It's very humbling," he said. "It's nice to think that those people thought so much about me. I didn't expect anything like that.

"Ibiza appeals to me because I know everyone now - it's just like going back and meeting friends when we holiday.

"I will never forget the first time I went there. It cost £17 for 14 days for flight and hotel."

He added the island had changed over the years since he first ventured there, becoming more commercialised.

"When we first went to the main town there were no roads but now there's roads going to all the main towns," said Mr Darby.

"I have been to Menorca and Majorca but Ibiza is my home - I know I'm going to enjoy it there."

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