British sporting legend Brian Jacks and I have lived in Pattaya for over twenty years, and we’ve seen the city grow with hotels, resorts, condominiums, entertainment complexes etc., shooting up all over Pattaya. Thais came from all over Thailand to find work. Foreigners come from all over the world for holidays. Many, like Jacks and I, decided to make Pattaya our home. With a great climate, great food, and so many things to do, Pattaya thrived. Then the Covid-19 cloud hit, and Pattaya’s bubble burst.
Jacks says, “Pattaya, one of Thailand’s premier holiday destinations, has been rocked with lockdowns and curfews and has been effectively closed since March 2020. That’s almost 600 days. During this time, Pattaya has become a ‘Ghost Town.’ Businesses have shut down, for rent signs are everywhere, and many people have left town.
“It’s so sad. I cycle around Pattaya most mornings and not only have many places closed but they’ve also been stripped of furnishings and fittings. Marc and I have lived in Pattaya for a long time, and we know Pattaya as a vibrant and energetic city with bright neon lights and laughter. But the lights went out a long time ago, and laughter has turned to despair. People are hungry.”
On Sunday, August 15th 2021, Brian and I sat down and chatted about how we could help starving people in Pattaya. We’d both seen news reports about food queues and how people in Pattaya were hurting.
Brian and I discussed fundraising and if we could get people to sponsor us. Neither of us knew too much about GoFund Pages, and I think we both thought about sponsorship old style where people sign a sponsorship sheet. We are that old. Someone mentioned the GoFund process, and we went that way.
On Sunday, August 29th 2021, Brian, Stuart Day, and Iain Jordan all cycled fifty-two kilometres, Giles Mortimer swam 320 lengths of Brian’s pool, and I walked twenty kilometres. We would have liked more people involved, but that takes time and more planning. We just wanted to get our events done and start to try and make a slight difference.
“View Dee is our operation Base Camp. After we’d done our bit, View Dee’s team christened View Dee Angels by long term resident Frank Peat from Motherwell, in Scotland, took over with food purchasing, preparation, and distribution.
Over 5,000 meals have been distributed. Our Angels have been out on the road handing out freshly cooked meals, and we had our View Dee Family Pack Day, Sunday, September 26th, where two hundred people collected food packs directly from View Dee. We estimated these packs should provide families with twenty meals.
Brian kicked off this event with a short speech as he handed a pack to our local Mayor, Mr Winai Inpitak. He gave the pack to our first family member. Other local dignitaries attended along with Police Colonel Sumlith Klunchit, a very good friend of Brian’s for many years.
We also had a local team of authorities who helped control traffic and made sure we had a smooth process, including a safety temperature scanner that everyone had to pass through. Everyone, collecting family packs, had a special ticket.
Also attending were Rodney James Charman, President of the Rotary Club Eastern Seaboard Thailand, and Greg Watkins, an Executive Director from the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand. The Rotary Club very kindly donated over 2,000 facemasks, and we added ten to each family pack.
Brian Jacks said, “We had a fantastic turnout, and everybody did a great job. We put some smiles on people faces, but there is still a long way to go. People ask me if Pattaya will ever be the same, and I think it will be. But it will take a long time. It’s been like a Ghost Town for 600 days, and it might take twice as long as that to get back on its feet. We, that’s our team, will do all we can to help. If anyone wants me to do anything, they only have to ask.”
We mentioned that Greg Watkins attended our September 26th event. He will be with us again on Sunday, October 17th 2021, with a British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) team, including Chairman Chris Cracknell. We plan to start at 11.00 AM.
The BCCT has very kindly donated 1,000 family packs to our campaign, and on Sunday, October 17th, we will distribute the first 300 packs. In finance terms, this donation is 240,000 Baht. Around £5,300, which is fantastic, and we thank everybody at BCCT.
Greg Watkins had this to say, “BCCT supports the Brian Jacks and Marc Gingell grassroots initiative to donate essential food supplies to starving people in Pattaya.
Brian and Marc’s group of volunteers prepare family packs including face masks, rice, eggs, Mama noodles, tinned sardines, cooking oil and fish sauce. Each pack provides sufficient food for a small family for 4-5 days. Family packs are donated hand-to-hand to those provided with a ticket by the local municipal authority, which fully supports the project.
I was delighted to join Brian and Marc on Sunday, September 26th, at an official ceremony attended by Winai Inpitak, Mayor of Nongprue and Police Colonel Sumlith Klunchit and colleagues.
Will there be a 2022 fundraiser? Discussions are taking place about a Lands End to John O’Groats Thai Style cycle event. This could start in May and be a fifteen to a twenty-day duration with a distance of 1,000 kilometres.
The plan is to drop into various areas of Thailand and meet locals and ex-pats in these locations. Events will include Brian Jacks after-dinner speeches, Q & A’s, a question of sport challenge, and a dip challenge.
Jacks has the last word, “We want to do all we can to help Pattaya and Thailand in general. This country is our adopted home. We’ve seen the good times, and we are living these times. I will do all I can to help. If anyone wants me to do anything, you only have to ask. Next year’s fundraiser looks tough, but there is nothing I like more than a challenge. Despite celebrating my seventy-fifth birthday last week.
Hope to see you on the road next year.”