White Star Service logo

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria Guests And Crew Make A Difference At The Pattaya Orphanage

April 1, 2010

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Victoria

Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 192 days


This year’s World Voyages continue, with Queen Mary 2 heading for Rio de Janiero and Queen Victoria in Mumbai. I hope you are enjoying watching our Queens around the world, and hopefully you are getting a flavour of what our guests are enjoying in the various ports and on board.


Some of the great Cunard traditions are the World Voyage Charity Events, where guests and members of the ships company raise money for needy causes back in Britain and around the world. There are two children’s projects in Thailand that Cunard guests and crew have supported for some years and we’ll tell you about some heart warming visits after this week in Cunard’s History from 2 to 7 April.


2 April 2007

Queen Mary 2 returns to Fort Lauderdale completing her 80 day Maiden World Voyage

2 April 2009

Queen Elizabeth voyages go on sale for the first time to the general public

4 April 1951

Caronia makes her maiden call to Pireaus for Athens

7 April 1976

QE2 makes her maiden call at Alexandria, Egypt



The Pattaya Orphanage, has been supported by generous donations from Cunard Guests and crew for many years and on Queen Victoria’s recent visit to Laem Chabang in Thailand some guests and crew went to see how the Orphanage was doing. I’ll let Gaynor Van Deventer, take up the story


Guest Blog – Gaynor Van Deventer, Queen Victoria 2010 World Voyage Concierge

The Pattaya Orphanage takes care of children and assists in their education, so that they can flourish and show their full potential. This care continues until the children are self supporting. We were collected by Siriphen who is the Assistant Director of the Pattaya orphanage in a small van which was so full of gifts that Siriphen and I shared the front seat with the driver for the twenty minute drive to the Orphanage



On arrival, we were all issued with a visitor’s card, and they off loaded boxes and a suitcase full of clothes, toys, stationery and toiletries for the children. These had been collected by two of our full World Voyage guests, Mr. Jim and Mrs. Muriel Gardiner. Over the last nine years they have been collecting throughout the year and when the ship arrives in Laem Chabang on each year’s World Voyage they bring donations to the orphanage. Many of our guests and crew heard that we were visiting the orphanage, so we gathered even more bags of chocolates, gifts and even some sizable cash donations.


I have been privileged to be part of this annual trip for the last three years and am always happy to co-ordinate the van to collect our guests and to return them to the ship. As we arrived we were greeted with a very eager photographer who was merrily taking pictures of our group and the gifts.



Mind you it wasn’t long before we were surrounded by toddlers who came running out to greet us. These children were mainly between 2 years and 3 years old and our guests immediately started handing out soft toys as the little ones came running out to us. They opened the pencils and started playing drums and investigated the contents of the suitcase.



We were then asked to remove our shoes, and wash our hands, as we were taken into see the younger babies, aged from 6 to 24 months.  It was mid morning and some of the babies were ready to have a nap, and some were drinking their bottles.  Who could resist wanting to pick up these little children.



For Jim and Muriel Gardiner this is always a very special occasion, as it marks the culmination of their year’s dedication to a cause they feel passionate about. As they told me “Seeing their smiling faces makes it all worthwhile”



We spent about half an hour moving around the room, just cuddling and hugging the little ones. There was a blind boy of two and a half years old in the room, who has his own toys to play with so that he can learn the difference of textures. He will go to the Father Ray Foundation Blind School next year in May when the school year starts, so he can start learning Braille.  One of our guests Hazel Dudley is herself blind, and there was a very special connection between the two of them, and it was a joy for me to see.



We saw a baby who was just 3 days old, and her bigger sister aged just over 9 months who had been in the orphanage virtually since birth, their mother is just 15 years old. When we saw the older children we were so impressed by how well mannered and behaved they were. They all walked past us, with a big smile and a polite greeting.


Although we enjoyed the day, it was certainly one of mixed emotions. It was humbling to think of the sadness of their situation, but I believe we all left the orphanage feeling grateful that these children have people who are willing to volunteer to look after them. We hope to return to the Orphanage again next year, and see the little ones a bit bigger than they were this year; it was definitely a morning well spent with the children of Pattaya Orphanage.


Thank you Gaynor for sharing that very moving piece and I am confident that our guests and crew will want to continue to support Pattaya Orphanage and their work for many years to come. That same afternoon the children of the nearby Father Ray Foundation came on board for a very special performance, but I’ll tell you more about that next week along with news from Queen Mary 2 as well Queen Elizabeth. In the meantime I’d like to wish all our readers a Happy Easter. Cheers Alastair

  1. Anthony jr says:

    Dear Mr. Alastair,

    I read the blog from a while back about Cunard’ cadet program, and I am a little confused. Does it really take only nine years after being hired by Cunard, to become Captain? Also, when one is hired by Cunard, do they start out as Third Officer? I really thought it took more like 25 years to become Captain, I think I am misunderstanding something. Also, I am trying to send a comment if there is more than one about the same thing, sorry about that. Thank you for your time.

  2. Beryl Moss says:

    What a fascinating blog and even reading it found it very emotional. Well done for all the fund raising. Happy Easter to yourself and all at Cunard.

  3. Christian Reay says:

    Hi Alistair. I wonder if you might be able to help me with a question I have? Can you tell me whatever happend to Beatrice Muller, the lady of famously lived onboard QE2 for over 20 years until its last voyage to Dubai?

    It would be facintating to have an update from someone who had a first hand experience of what is arguably one of the most famous liners in the world.

    All the best!


Leave a Comment