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From Murcia to Ashfield Green
Jan Wade continues her series on multi-cultural Suffolk by speaking to Santi Torrecillas whose ‘short stay’ in England has lasted for far longer than originally planned
Ashort stint in the UK, with the aim of improving her knowledge of English, turned into an unexpected and complete change of
lifestyle for Santi Torrecillas who, 25 years on, is now an established resident of Ashfield Green, Wickhambrook.
Santi was born, and spent her early years, in Lyon, France. Her Spanish parents had left their home city of Murcia during the reign of Franco. She was the youngest of five children and in 1973, the whole family returned to Murcia. She soon adapted to the language and culture of her region and, despite her early years in France, considers herself 100% Spanish.
Having completed her education in Murcia, initially at school and then undertaking a degree in Business Management and Tourism, she became disillusioned with the lack of opportunities to pursue her chosen career. Spain was going through an economic crisis at the time and the only employment she could find was in sales or as a waitress. At this point, she started to look at the possibility of working in the airline industry. However, she realised that, although her fluency in Spanish and French would be helpful, she would also
need an advanced level of English.
So began a new chapter of her life. She
had friends living in Salisbury and so she decided to move there, try to find work and study hard to bring her English to the required level. For the next two years she held down three separate jobs, as kitchen assistant in a restaurant on weekdays, providing a catering service at weekends and, in between, giving private tuition in French and Spanish.
It was hard work but it paid off. After about two years, she was confident enough in her English to apply to British Airways and was accepted as a stewardess. She continued to work for BA for the next five years, travelling around the world while continuing to be based in Salisbury. It was there that she met her future husband. She had moved into shared accommodation with a friend and one of the other lodgers was Roger Draycott, who worked locally for the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. Although she didn’t realise it at the time, that meeting was to change the course of Santi’s life. When Roger moved back to Suffolk in 1998, Santi moved with him and they made their home in Bury St Edmunds.
They married in 2000 and their son ‘

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