Each year the Pattaya International Ladies Club (PILC) holds their annual Christmas bazaar to raise funds for their charitable efforts. Ann Winfield, president of the PILC, was the speaker at the Sunday, October 7 meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club. She described how the PILC got its start and how it supports many charitable organizations in and around Pattaya.
Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg introduced Ann. She was born and raised in Coventry, England, and moved to America when she married her husband, Michael. They retired to Thailand five years ago, and Ann now spends most of the year here, with a few months at their home in the Hudson Valley of New York every summer. When she was working, Ann’s career was as a publication and public relations specialist for colleges and universities. She joined the PILC when she and her husband first moved to Pattaya.
MC Richard Silverberg begins PCEC’s Sunday meeting by inviting new visitors to introduce themselves. Richard pointed out that it is not necessary to be a member to come to PCEC meetings; all are welcome.
Ann started by giving a brief history of Pattaya and the PILC. The name Pattaya means the wind blowing from the southwest to the northeast at the beginning of the rainy season and evolved from the march of Phraya Tak (later becoming King Taksin), and his army from Ayutthaya which took place in 1767.
It was here where his and another opposing local army decided to join together against their common enemy and was thereafter known as Thap Praya which means the Army of the Phraya.
In the 1960s, Pattaya was just a small fishing village when American servicemen during the Vietnam War began arriving for rest and relaxation. Since then, Pattaya has developed into a popular beach resort. International businesses also started moving into the area and brought in some of their employees who were accompanied by their wives.
The PILC was organized 25 years ago to support these international women in developing friendships and to help expatriates settle into the community by providing opportunities for social, cultural, and philanthropic endeavors.
It began with about 20 to 25 members. The focus of the club is to create opportunities for members to socialize and make friends, to network, to engage in charitable and welfare projects, and to pursue cultural and intellectual activities. Over the years, the club has expanded its charitable endeavors and now supports a number of projects.
The principle aim of PILC philanthropy is to enable young people and other recipients to obtain an education. Today it has about 225 members from 38 different countries.
Hawaii Bob updates members on the activities of Frugal Freddy for the week, and reminds all to get their ads in for his free classifieds, which go out each month.
They raise funds for the benefit of several charities in and around Pattaya. Ann described the charities they support and what they accomplish. Some of the many mentioned were the Fountain of Life Children’s Centre which provides day care, and their Women’s Centre for women who are homeless, who have been abused, etc.
She noted that the PILC provides sponsorship of student uniforms, transport, lunches, and other daily expenses of attending school for children at the Mercy Centre.
They provide funding for medical and dental visits for the children at Baan Jing Jai Orphanage and circulate food drop bags for about 100 needy families through Kate’s Project. The PILC sponsors the salaries of two teachers for Goh Pai Early Learning Centre and one teacher at the Dek Dee Early Learning Centre. The PILC also helped establish the North Star Library, a private community centre that offers a library service and training room for Thai language courses.
Ann concluded by noting that on November 3, they will have the largest of their fundraising events. It will be their 20th Annual Christmas Bazaar which will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Central Pattaya. The bazaar will open at 10 a.m. and they are expecting a record turn-out this year. There’ll be a Santa’s Grotto and other activities for children, a children’s corner, fashion show, dance demonstrations, a charity toy drop-off box, roving magician, raffle prizes, and dozens of vendors to help everyone get a head start on Christmas shopping.
After Ann answered several questions from the audience, MC Richard Silverberg provided an update on upcoming events and called on Roy Albiston to conduct the Open Forum where questions are asked and answered about expat living in Thailand; Pattaya in particular. You can learn more about the club and its activities by visiting their website at www.pattayacityexpatsclub.com.
Ann Winfield, president of Pattaya International Ladies Club, began by telling us of the very interesting history of PILC, and also some of the history of Pattaya, as this 1968 photo shows.