Over the past couple of years, Lefki has been rejuvenited from being just a long road with pretty white washed houses to a village with a new restaurant and also a village square where locals and ithacans generally, can meet, perform and congregate for any special or not so special occasion thanks in big part to philathropist, Spyros Paxinos and family who have donated to restore not only the old school into a village meeting place and outdoor venue, but now also the Lefki church which was celebrated by a big party in Lefki at the restored school and grounds.
The sultry summer evening began at the restored church in Lefki with a church service to bless and appreciate this second life for the village chapel and then onto the restored school for a party fit for Kings, again compliments of the Spyros Paxinos family. The setting was perfect. The balcony was dressed in dinner tables draped in white chair covers and table cloths, the sun setting over the Kefalonia straight, the band playing all the favourites on the band stand, set up high for everyone to see and the dance circle decorated at the edges by olive trees.
The Lefki church being used the first time since its restoration and reparations.
Beautifully restored in keeping with the precious frescos and original interior.
Speeches thanked the numerous people who helped Spyros Paxinos see out his dream for his village. The village in which he grew up in, the village that saw him find his way around the world, looking for a future he would not get in his village, no matter how loved it was. Finding his way to science and engineeering, a boy without a local education traveling the corners of the world and then getting an education and completing his degree in only 27 months to then see his way into the pioneering business of microchips and Nasa. A remarkable man, lauded by his brother, who himself is a renowned neuroscientist, in a funny and moving speech. Two brothers finding their careers and paths in different countries, George in Australia, Spyros in the USA, but always reuniting in Lefki, Ithaca Greece.
There was no doubt that everyone at the restoration party appreciated and loved Spyros Paxinos. It was great to see so many locals and happy faces, exuberant and enjoying their time under the Lefki stars, drinking local wine, feasting and celebrating together. His eldest daughter, who also gave a speech, enlightened us to the father he was and gave us more insight into Spyros as the family man, bringing his family to Ithaca each summer on holidays, but also declaring her appreciation of his making a place that future generations can enjoy. The restorations of the school and the church are a great legacy to be left by this once Lefki village local who proves that even when your circumstances appear dire, there is a way forward if you have the will, the passion and the conviction to succeed.
The Levendi's family have their own supernova, George Levendis, formerly a television and record company executive, currently with Syco, a joint venture with Simon Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment.
Above - George and Maria Levendis