Turnberry Women to serve in Thailand Orphanage this Summer
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MAYBOLE’s Charlotte Harrop is a bright, caring young woman who knows first hand how much children need secure and loving homes - her mother Geraldine Harrop has cared for nearly 100 babies in her 30 years as a foster parent. 
“I was one of those babies, “Charlotte told the Gazette. “Mum and Dad adopted me.”
And Charlotte will put her ideals into practice when she and colleague Kate-Brihony Dunnion give up a summer holiday to change nappies in an orphanage in Thailand.
Charlotte and Kate work for the 5-star Westin Turnberry Resort, part of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide – so if they chose, they could spend their summer break partying and pampering themselves at any of Starwood’s luxury hotels around the world.
But on the 6th of July the feisty pair will fly to Bangkok to spend 16 days feeding,
changing, bathing and giving lots of personal attention and cuddles to abandoned and orphaned children at  the Phayathai Babies’ Home which cares for more than 300 children from newborn to 5 years old.
Their employers have been totally supportive of the women’s efforts from the start.  For example, staff at one of parent company Starwood’s properties in Bangkok had the necessary local knowledge to identify a reputable orphanage - the Phayathai Babies’ Home and put Charlotte and Kate in touch with its resident child psychiatrist.   
The young staff members were prepared to fund their own travel expenses – but were delighted when Charlotte’s boss Kurt Meusel surprised them by donating all his personal air miles for plane tickets to Bangkok that would have cost £600 each.  

And instead of shopping for the right bikinis and stocking up suntan lotion, these extraordinary young women are devoting their impressive levels of energy in their free time to raising funds so that they can buy supplies, books and toys for the home.   “We are determined to buy them the essential items they need” said Charlotte.
Charlotte and Kate were thinking about soliciting local donations of clothes, toys and books but soon discovered that shipping costs were prohibitive.  So they kick-started a fund from their own pockets, each putting £200 into a bank account set up specially for the purpose. 
They decided an auction would be a great way to raise money - but because of charity and gambling regulations, the auction must be restricted to the hotel’s staff of over 400 people.   But anyone who wishes is free to make a donation and it will be most welcome.  “Every penny we raise will go to the orphanage,” assured Kate.
So far, local businesses have contributed generously, everything from haircuts to sweets and time on a sunbed – to date donors include Dowhill Farm Shop & Restaurant, and from Girvan, Green Jam picture framers and art sales, The Roxy pub and restaurant, Paul the Barbers, The Sweetie Shop, Video Scene and Allsorts in Chalmers Arcade, MD Ladies’ Fashion, Mackays, Direct Outdoors, Aff Yer Head Gents’ Barbers, Akita furniture showroom and Poco Ibiza Sunbeds.  Other places to donate The Kirkmichael Arms, Wildings, Malin Court,  Daily Bake in Maybole, PJ Videos, Lloyds Chemist, Carrick Stores, The Sweetie Jar, Crème de la Crème, The Pound Shop.
And the hotel and parent company Starwood have contributed sought-after prizes like a 4 ball on the world famous Ailsa Course which is due to host the 2009 Open Championship and hotel stays, worth hundreds of pounds.
Kate’s motivation for the project came from her extensive travels in Africa before moving to Scotland from her native home in Australia. Kate described how she spent time with “some of the poorest but happiest children ever” while in Botswana. “These kids were doing maths in the dirt – if it rained, they couldn’t finish their sums.”
She respects these children and the tribal communities in which they live, and is in no way patronising.  The children she met had almost no material possessions, unlike those in Scotland where even the poorest have access to food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care – not to mention television, mobile phones and computer games. 
But however happy the children may be on a spiritual level, some material objects are necessary to fulfil basic needs.   Kate and Charlotte feel very strongly that children everywhere in the world – whether Botswana, Thailand or closer to home – should at the very least have clean running water and a school with a roof. 
“We work in a 5-star hotel and I feel so privileged,” said Kate.  “I want to give something positive back to the community, be it local or not. There is nothing more rewarding in the world than making a little one smile!”