‘Things will never be the same’ – Joseph Calleja pays tribute to Gozo’s Lino Cefai
Yesterday, news of Lino Cefai’s passing spread, with many locals taking to socials sharing fond memories of the Gozitan. Lino was the director of Gozo Village Holidays and together with his partner Ino, embellished Gozo with iconic places, such as Ta’ Frenc.
One of the locals who paid tribute to the businessman was world-renowned Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja who knew Lino very well and shared many moments with him. “’Aw Cefai!’ was how my children, my friends and the undersigned lovingly greeted Lino every time we saw him. This trend, started by our fraternal friend Michael, became a trademark phrase every time we met,” Joseph fondly recalls.
“He used to love it, throwing back a beaming smile whilst gleefully showing us the bottle of wines (like all of his friends, he was a huge wine lover and collector) he had brought with him, often alongside some Gozitan "gbejniet" for all of us to enjoy during our long lunches. He was a man of contradictions - quiet and reserved at times, but often also extrovert and joyful, especially in the company of his close friends.”
“Both astute businessmen and visionaries, he and his late business partner Ino, built a thriving business in the Gozitan hospitality sector from nothing. He took great pride in the latter, especially in their restaurant of Ta' Frenc, but as a man of incredible modesty, he took success in his stride and never let it go to his head.”
“I was also honoured to have him on the board of the BOV/JosephCallejaFoundation in which he always showed unfailing interest and dedication. He seldom missed a board meeting or an interview panel, and he took great satisfaction in our scholars’ many achievements, following up on their successes and even helping them out whenever he could,” Calleja continued, sharing his condolences with his family and friends. “Till we meet again ‘CEFAI!’ Things will never be the same.”