Divas light up the night at Hard Rock Hotel Christmas charity event

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Celebrities, public officials and community leaders turned out to help the Hard Rock Hotel raise money for charity and kick off the holiday season with its 9th annual “Charity Christmas Tree Light Up.”

The December 4 “Night with the Divas” event saw the hotel light its giant Christmas tree and host a concert from two well-known Thai songstresses, along with hold a charity auction, with proceeds going to two area schools and a pan-Asian fund for poor children.

(l-r) Tony Malhotra, Jorge Carlos Smith, Peter Malhotra, Khunying Busyarat and Gen. Kanit Permsub, Santa Claus, Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and Rungratree Thongsai gather for a photo in front of the lit up Christmas tree.(l-r) Tony Malhotra, Jorge Carlos Smith, Peter Malhotra, Khunying Busyarat and Gen. Kanit Permsub, Santa Claus, Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and Rungratree Thongsai gather for a photo in front of the lit up Christmas tree.

Gen. Kanit Permsub, deputy chief aide-de-camp General to His Majesty the King, together with his wife Khunying Busyarat, Mayor Itthiphol Khunplome, Former MP of Chonburi Chanyuth Hengtrakul and Pattaya Mail Managing Director Pratheep Malhotra were among the many officials and community leaders on hand for the festive evening around the Hard Rock’s large swimming pool.

Gen. Kanit noted the Hard Rock has a long history of supporting needy causes across Thailand, with last year’s Charity Light Up benefitting the HRH Princess Sirindhorn Foundation, an Ayutthaya nursing home and Sattahip’s Ban Amphur School.

A rare image of His Majesty the King, which Gen. Kanit Permsub brought to the charity auction.A rare image of His Majesty the King, which Gen. Kanit Permsub brought to the charity auction.

This year, he said, proceeds from the charity drive will again support the Ban Amphur School, as well as the Chonburi Agriculture and Technology College’s World Preservation Project, which teaches environmental preservation and organic agriculture, and the Melissa Cosgrove Children’s Foundation, which aids orphans in Thailand and across Asia.

Ban Amphur School, established 80 years ago, is a small primary school in Sattahip that doesn’t have enough government support for poor families in the area. The Hard Rock is helping to fund improvements at the school, including a cafeteria and kitchen.

The funds for the Agriculture and Technology College will fund an organic agriculture project that teaches alternatives to chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Finally, a portion of funds raised will go the Melisa Cosgrove Children’s Foundation, which was established in 2003. It’s a non-profit organization with branches in Thailand, Myanmar and Pakistan. Its purpose has been to support underprivileged children, children living with HIV/AIDS, street children living in slums, and orphans in Asia for more than 18 years.

Gen. Kanit Permsub, the honorary advisor to Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya, speaks about the details and objectives of the project.Gen. Kanit Permsub, the honorary advisor to Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya, speaks about the details and objectives of the project.

After the Christmas tree light-up, guests were invited to the Hall of Fame where a lavish buffet was laid out replete with a huge suckling pig grilled on a spit.

The charitable revellers then settled in for the Divas concert featuring Kaem Witchayanee, winner of the 2008 Star Entertainment Awards and fourth Star Search, and Panadda Ruangwut, runner up in 1995’s KPN Awards.

A fun filled auction was also conducted by the talented ‘rising stars’ Tony Malhotra and Rungratree Thongsai who coaxed and cajoled guests into bidding for a host of prized auction items, including many portraits of His Majesty the King with his mother the late HRH the Princess Mother Srinagarindra including pictures of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. These unique and rare pictures were donated by Gen. Kanit Permsub and Khunying Busyarat who brought them from the Royal palace.

A guitar signed by members of British pop band Simply Red fetched 80,000 baht. Many other items including a black leather jacket from the Hard Rock Cafe in Phuket, hotel and meal vouchers, and a guitar signed by both of the evening’s divas brought in a generous amount of baht for charity.

This guitar signed by Simply Red was one of the fabulous items put up for auction with proceeds going  to charity.This guitar signed by Simply Red was one of the fabulous items put up for auction with proceeds going to charity.

Diva Panadda Ruangwut gives a great performance.Diva Panadda Ruangwut gives a great performance.

(L to R) Jorge Carlos Smith, Gen. Kanit Permsub, Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, Khunying Busyarat Permsub, and Pratheep Malhotra jointly light-up the Hard Rock Christmas tree.(L to R) Jorge Carlos Smith, Gen. Kanit Permsub, Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, Khunying Busyarat Permsub, and Pratheep Malhotra jointly light-up the Hard Rock Christmas tree.

Rung and Tony vowed the crowd with their vivaciousness on stage, bringing in solid bids for the auctioned items.Rung and Tony vowed the crowd with their vivaciousness on stage, bringing in solid bids for the auctioned items.

Diva Kaem Witchayanee not only performed spectacularly, but also donated her guitar to the charity auction.Diva Kaem Witchayanee not only performed spectacularly, but also donated her guitar to the charity auction.