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Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Latest News from Koh Samui

The Governor of the Bank of Thailand announced today that the Capital Controls implemented under the previous military government will be scrapped from Monday. Although they had been significantly watered down since they were first implemented on 18th December 2006 they still applied to foreign investment in the bond markets and property funds but not direct investment in property and land. In the opinion of the Governor any rapid appreciation in the baht should be short-lived. I anticipate that we will see the margin between the onshore rate and the offshore rate narrow although, as before the reserve rule was implemented, I would still expect to get a better exchange rate onshore.

Support for the Matt Hampson Trust has been exceptional with the three main events – The Golf Day at Santiburi Golf Club, the Race Night at The Pub and the “Head Shave” and Auction at Coco Blues bringing in a total of £8,300 as of today with more contributions still to be collected – so £9,000 is not out of the question.

The Golf Day at Santiburi was well attended with 48 players turning up for a Texas Scramble competition on a beautiful day, quite hot but with the occasional breeze. As Ko Samui Properties were Sponsors of the Winners Trophy, I considered it my duty not to play well enough to win it myself and over did that somewhat by qualifying for the wooden spoon along with my partner for the day Graham! Such is life. The Golf Day raised Baht 24,000 and thanks go to Greg and Alex and Samui Golf for the organisation.

Race Night at The Pub in Fisherman’s Village was enthusiastically attended and apart from a moment when Dave Pritchard became technically challenged (a senior moment there Dave?) and showed the result of the 5th Race before it had been run, went off without a hitch. Nevertheless Dave and his lovely ladies on the Tote succeeded in extracting some Baht 30,000 from the punters and Steve (The Governor) Wilson then very generously contributed a further Baht 20,000 from his takings that night to the fund.

Coco Blues was the venue for two special events. The long awaited head shave of “Super Star” and “Poker Player Extraordinaire” Mr Lawrence Fay which alone had raised Baht 132,000 in sponsorship. Before the professionals got involved we sold 100 Baht snips and one of the first up to have a go was his lovely wife Oi – who was probably glad to see the back of the shaggy monster she had been living with since Christmas. Thanks go to John and Duncan for holding Lawrence to the promise he made in a bar (where else?) on Boxing Day and for strong arming sponsorship money out of half the island.

The last event was the Auction of various items of Memorabilia including signed boxing gloves from Steve Collins, Enzo Macarinelli, Joe Callzaghe and Ricky Hatton. We also had signed rugby shirts from the Ospreys Rugby Club, Leicester Tigers Rugby Club and an England shirt signed by the England Squad. There was a Rugby Ball signed by Martin Johnson together with his left boot also signed which he wore during the 2003 World Cup in which he led England to victory. Moving on from a past history with live stock, our very own professional auctioneer Mr Hywel Williams provided a very smooth patter and lively and humorous 45 minutes as he knocked down each item to collect a total of Baht 245,000. Thanks go to everyone involved in providing the items for sale and for turning up on the night and bidding so enthusiastically.

Roy Jackson, President of Leicester Tigers Rugby Club and Chairman of the Matt Hampson Trust was on vacation on Koh Samui and attended all the events mentioned and was overwhelmed by the support shown by everyone here. He gave further insights into this remarkable young man whose life was so devastatingly changed in a matter of seconds and who at the age of 19 was confined to a wheel chair and life support system for the rest of his life but who has risen above his own predicament to help other people in similar, and in some cases far worse, situations than his. All of us who participated in these events wish Matt the very best.

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