It was in 1974 that Father Ray Brennan opened the doors of the Pattaya Orphanage to offer a loving home to unwanted and abandoned babies and young children. Being a catholic priest, and coming from a devout Irish American catholic family, Christmas for him was one of the most important times of the year and he always made sure his children knew the meaning of Christmas and enjoyed all the fun and excitement that comes with it.
Almost forty years later and the children at the Pattaya Orphanage still celebrate Christmas and each year the celebrations get bigger and bigger.
Khun Toy, without whom the party would not be so successful.
This year several hundred guests arrived for the annual party, from sponsors of the children, long time friends, new friends and celebrities, including well known German football manager Reiner Calmund and legendary classical guitarist Hucky Eichelmann.
But being Christmas, it was all about the children. Father Michael Weera, Director of the Pattaya Orphanage, officially opened the celebrations by welcoming the guests before the children’s choir sang a selection of carols, accompanied by Santa Claus, who received a huge cheer when he climbed onto the stage.
Once the choir had finished, every child who currently lives at the Orphanage was called to the stage and received several beautifully wrapped Christmas presents, and there were plenty of soft toys to go around.
Many former residents of the Orphanage visited, some bringing their own children with them, and others travelling for many hours to spend Christmas at their former home. They are not forgotten as they too received a Christmas gift.
Food tables were set up and for many youngsters they did not know what to eat next as there was just so much food to choose from.
An auction took place to raise funds for the Children’s Education Fund and almost half a million baht was raised. Lots on offer included art work, vouchers for local hotels and restaurants and two second hand cars. Auctioneer Bill Coulson did an excellent job persuading people to part with their money.
Christmas comes just once a year, but it is always a day the children to look forward to and a day they remember for the following twelve months.
More information can be found at www.thepattaya orphanage.org or email [email protected]
Bill Coulson did a great job as auctioneer.
Doc Penguin amazed everyone with his magic tricks.
Santa was in fine voice as he joined the choir.
Look what I’ve got!
The choir sang beautifully, as they always do.
“Do I hear a better bid from number 27 in the back?” Bill Coulson is an expert auctioneer.
Local ballerinas entertained the audience.
Everyone loves a soft toy.
Young performers take to the stage.
Dancers from the Dance Studio perform a magical Christmas ballet.
Father Michael presented gifts to all the children.
Poppy Mulford and her dad, Nathaniel Mulford, both of whom this past Fall completed a charity bicycle ride from Ayutthaya to Angkor Wat, donate funds they raised to Yok, a pupil at the Sotpattana School for the Deaf, to help the young Thai girl have the operation she needs to restore her hearing.
Checking out each other’s presents.