It was a dual celebration at the Royal Varuna Yacht
Club recently: Asia’s first Francophile - and, newest - Rotary Club, the
Rotary Club Pattaya Marina, sounding nautical enough to hold its charter
night at the Varuna seaside clubhouse. But there was something even more
marine-oriented: The two guests of honour were sailors from one of
Europe’s best-known yacht clubs, the Yacht Club de La-Baule, located in
Bretagne, France. Dominique and Benoit Eraud, relatives of Pierre-Yves
Eraud, president-elect of Rotary Club Pattaya Marina, were the epitome of
Gallic charm and enjoyed the blend of Rotarians and yachties to the
Baley receives the Paul Harris Fellow pin from President Nic.
Belgian, Nic Demet, the founder of the Rotary Pattaya
Marina, has also been a man of the sea, being more on the mechanical side,
however, as a purveyor of power boats and outboard engines.
Nic, a long-time member of the Rotary Club of
Jomtien-Pattaya had also invited members of the many clubs installed
around the Eastern Seaboard and the Jomtien-Pattaya area.
As MC Peter Malhotra, a man never lost for words in any
language, informed the gathering (in English, this time), of some 80
people at Varuna, the French are a people who know how to celebrate life
and, seeing that all there were wining and dining with the utmost
enjoyment, it somewhat proved Peter’s point.
President Nicholas Demet introduces his board members to the District
Governor Elect Jin Srikasikorn.
Starting out with a splendid ‘Sundowner’ at the
Royal Varuna seafront bar, with a magnificent sunset and a warm southerly
blowing in, the evening was off to a splendid start.
A movie presentation was then held in the clubhouse, as
a tribute to the victims of the December 26 tsunami in the south of
Thailand and to whom the Rotary Club Pattaya Marina had made a very large
contribution, raising over one million baht in a very short time from the
members of the fledgling club. Rotary Club Pattaya Marina targeted the
fishing community in Bahn Nam Kem, providing funds and new fishing boats,
vehicles and equipment, to allow the suffering people to take up their
Nic is honoured with a plaque of appreciation, thanking him for forming a
French speaking Rotary Club.
Then followed a toast to Rotary International,
celebrating its 100th anniversary, being founded in Chicago on February
23, 1905. French-speaking Nic Demet made his address in his native
language and said that he is proud and happy to be the charter president
of the very first French speaking Rotary Club - not only in Thailand, but
in all of Asia.
Frederique Eraud is thanked for her support of the club’s efforts to
help the tsunami victims.
President Nic then introduced his board to the
audience: Charter vice-President Dr. Olivier Meyer, President-Elect
Pierre-Yves Eraud, Treasurer Yves Echement, Secretary Bruno Amouroux, Club
Service Director and Webmaster Franck Genot, Community Service Director
Desire Dillen, International Service Director Pierre de Brugerolle and
Vocational Service Director Daniel Dandoy.
The evening also saw the presentation of the highest
Rotary International Award: A Paul Harris (Rotary Founder) Fellowship was
given to Francois Balley, the commodore of the Yacht Club de la Baule, who
was granted this honour for his generous cash contribution to Rotary.
Judy Hoppe, Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya and Peter Cummins receive a
cheque for 50,000 baht in support of the tsunami victims through the PC
Other awards were given to several different members
and various clubs, as well as to individuals who assisted Rotary Marina in
President-Elect of Rotary Club Pattaya Marina
Pierre-Yves Eraud, who will become president in July, organized an
auction, with photographs of France’s best-known photographer and
film-director, Alain Juno, who took this photographs on location, right
after the tsunami.
Finally, President Nic Demet donated 50,000 baht to
Judy Hoppe, president, Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya as a contribution to
the 11th Pattaya Mail PC Classic Royal Cliff Beach International Regatta
which was held on March 26, 2005. As in previous years, through Rotary,
all proceeds from the regatta will be donated to the needy and
disadvantaged of the region, especially children.
Elect Pierre-Yves Eraud did a splendid job as auctioneer…all in French
Then, it was back to yacht club business for a moment
as Royal Varuna Commodore Don McKenzie, in the traditional manner between
yacht clubs, exchanged club burgees with Frederique and Benoit Heraud,
representing the Yacht Club de La-Baule.
Peter Cummins, in his ‘inimitable’ French, then
passed on a letter from Santi Kanchanapundhu, incumbent flag commodore,
Royal Varuna, to Benoit, for transmissioun to Commodore Balley, requesting
reciprocal agreements between the two clubs.
And, as he left the marvellous evening of fellowship,
camaraderie and goodwill between many Rotary Clubs and two yacht clubs,
Peter (Cummins) was amazed to find that he was the proud owner of a
French-built CTT (Cyclo de tout terrain) otherwise known as a mountain
Peter (C), being quite inebriated at this stage, and
when Pierre the Auctioneer called up the last item for auction, starting
at 4,000 baht, Peter was merely trying to scratch his head when the
machine was ‘knocked down’ to him at 5,000 baht of which he was
A very surprised Royal Varunian wheeled the bike away saying, “It was
an incredible bargain,” later adding that “when I am sober, I SHALL