HRH Princess Soamsawalee awards PhueanThai honorees

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Pattaya Mail Media Group recognised for outstanding achievements

HRH Princess Soamsawalee was recognized for her lifetime of work on behalf of society as the PhueanThai German International Organization and Germany’s Thailandfreunde e.V celebrated its annual charity gala in Chiang Mai.

The Chiang Mai-based PhueanThai awarded Her Royal Highness its Platinum Lifetime Award Nov. 5 at the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel in Chiang Mai during a grand celebration that drew a crowd of 300, including luminaries from government, the military, diplomatic corps and social-work sector.

Awards recipients take part in a group photo session with HRH Princess Soamsawalee.Awards recipients take part in a group photo session with HRH Princess Soamsawalee.

The gala, held every year to raise funds for PhueanThai-sponsored charities, this year honored royally backed Princess Pa Foundation, which has worked for nearly two decades to assist victims of natural disasters, against drug use by youths and on behalf of HIV and AIDS patients. More than a half-million baht was raised for the organization this year.

Pratheep Malhotra MD of the Pattaya Mail Media Group presents two books written by Peter Cummins commemorating the birthdays of Their Majesties the King and Queen to HRH Princess Soamwalee.Pratheep Malhotra MD of the Pattaya Mail Media Group presents two books written by Peter Cummins commemorating the birthdays of Their Majesties the King and Queen to HRH Princess Soamwalee.

The Princess Pa Foundation was established by HRH Princess Bajarakitiyabha after major floods in 1995 to help close the gap between victims’ needs and support from existing charity organizations. The program was such a success it was continued with donations made tax deductible in 2001.

In addition to receiving her own award, HRH Princess Soamsawalee handed out honors to other members of society for their work and dedication. She was joined on stage by Gov. Wichian Phuttiwinyu, HSH Ticomporn Yugala and Senator M.L. Preeyapun Sridhavat.

The princess congratulates Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon and his team for a most outstanding evening.The princess congratulates Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon and his team for a most outstanding evening.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was not present, was awarded Diplomat of the Year award. Man of the Year went to CEO of ECC International Tjeert Kwant and Woman of the Year was presented to Rattanakorn Sirirat for her tireless efforts to raise money for the poor.

Wuttipong Arayatumsopon presents a special gift to HRH Princess Soamsawalee.Wuttipong Arayatumsopon presents a special gift to HRH Princess Soamsawalee.

The Best Hotel award went to the Imperial Mae Ping and its general manager Peter Schnyder, who, along with his team, put in many hours of work to ensure the night turned out to be such a great success.

The Donator of the Year prize was given to 89-year-old Colin Richmond Watson, while Sisley International General Manager Rujit Suthanaseriporn won CEO of the Year.

Peter Malhotra (left) and Suthasinee Maneekul (right) present commemorative books to Chao Pakinai Na Chiang Mai.Peter Malhotra (left) and Suthasinee Maneekul (right) present commemorative books to Chao Pakinai Na Chiang Mai.

Media awards were presented to Hallo Chiang Mai Magazine for best national media, while the best international media award was given to Pattaya Mail Publishing Co., Ltd. and Managing Director Peter Malhotra, Chiang Mai Mail Managing Editor Shana Kongmun and Pattaya Blatt Editor Elfi Seitz.

Thailandfreunde’s board member Wuttipong Arayatumsopon and Princess Pa Director Saisom Wongsasulak won special recognition for their social work from HRH Soamsawalee.

Elfi Seitz interviews Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon, chairman of Thailandfreunde for PMTV.Elfi Seitz interviews Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon, chairman of Thailandfreunde for PMTV.

Before dinner was served, the German and the European anthems were sung by baritone Book Kitavadhana. During dinner, guests were entertained by the Chiang Mai ballet under the guidance of Sen. M.L. Preeyapun Sridhavat. The school for dramatic arts showed traditional flower and Lanna dances, and two young students from the German Christian School Chiang Mai, Eleonora Nescholta and Hannah Haeger, both 15, played Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in Gigue on violin.

Peter and Shana pose with Peter Schnyder (right), GM of Imperial Mae Ping Hotel.Peter and Shana pose with Peter Schnyder (right), GM of Imperial Mae Ping Hotel.

A fashion show by British designer Lawrence Goldberg, who also won Designer of the Year, graced the stage afterward and a musical performance from Trinities Pulse. Local Chiang Mai favorite Book Kitavadhana put on numbers from German opera, moving many to stand during his rendition of the German national anthem.

The Pattaya Mail Media Group team stands at our booth awaiting the arrival of the princess. Nopniwat Krailerg (2nd left), Shana Kongmun, Peter Malhotra, Elfi Seitz, Suthasinee Maneekul and Peerasan Wongsri (right) GM Chiang Mai Mail.The Pattaya Mail Media Group team stands at our booth awaiting the arrival of the princess. Nopniwat Krailerg (2nd left), Shana Kongmun, Peter Malhotra, Elfi Seitz, Suthasinee Maneekul and Peerasan Wongsri (right) GM Chiang Mai Mail.

Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon, chairman of Thailandfreunde and founder of PhueanThai, got the charity fundraising under way with a robe designed by Lawrence Goldberg in the style of the late Liberace. Emcees Nattanant Jewrattanawong and Phanitpim Thang auctioned off antique newspapers featuring HM King Rama V and a coin collection. A silent auction with smaller prizes also was equally successful.

The grand night saw many socialites and public officials attend, including HSH Prince Ticomporn Yugala, Sen. M.L. Preeyapun Sridhavat, Gen. Sarayut Rangsri, Ankarna Putiwinju, president of the Chiang Mai Red Cross, Greek Honorary Consul George Sirioris, starlet Tipaporn Ajanant and others.

The Princess posed for pictures with many in attendance, including representatives from the Promenada Resort Mall, Thai Freeze Dry Co., Podology Center Chiang Mai & Bangkok and the Pattaya Mail Media Group. They all presented HRH with special gifts.

Wrapping up the evening, Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon thanked all who attended, noting the Princess was the first member of the Royal Household to attend a private event in Chiang Mai.

PhueanThai was established as a German – Thai group to help underprivileged and handicapped people, especially children in Chiang Mai and the North. It is a sister organization of Thailandfreunde e.V.

The prize winners
Man of the Year: Tjeert Kwant – CEO of ECC International, developer of Promenada Resort Shopping Mall.
Woman of the Year: Rattanakorn Sirirat for her tireless efforts to raise money for the poor.
Diplomat of the Year: Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Manager of the Year: Rujit Suthanaseriporn, manager of Sisley Thailand.
Fashion Designer of the Year: Lawrence Goldberg.
Persons for Human Rights: “Lizzy” Michael-Ginsel, Gerard Mosselmann and Raya Luelai Madeleine.
Best Thai Language Publication: Hallo Chiang Mai magazine, Ms. Nattapimon Chuendong, manager.
Pattaya Mail: Best Weekly English Newspaper, Peter Malhotra, managing director.
Pattaya Blatt, Best German Newspaper, Elfi Seitz, executive editor.
Chiang Mai Mail: Best Weekly English Newspaper in the North, Shana Kongmun, managing editor.
Newcomer of the Year: Duo Trinities Pulse, Harry Bates.
Sponsor of the Year: Colin Richmond-Watson, 89.
Surprise-Prize: Bob Fickes, meditation teacher.
Tourist Attraction of the Year: Night Safari Chiang Mai.
Hotel of the Year: Imperial Mae Ping Hotel Chiang Mai, Peter Schnyder, general manager.
Restaurant of the Year: La Gondola Group, Suwanee Roncoroni.
51 other people received a brooch from the princess for their efforts to help underprivileged people in Thailand.

The highly successful auction to raise funds for charity was conducted by Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon.The highly successful auction to raise funds for charity was conducted by Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon.

Performances by Book Kitavadhana, Wijitpailin Sereesak, Trinities Pulse, Hannah Haegar and Eleonora Nescholta from the German Christian School, Chiang Mai Ballet, and Chiang Mai School for Dramatic Arts were most enthralling.

The fashion show was wild and colourful.