By Humphrey Carter
ONE of the many volunteers who headed out to tsunami-hit South East Asia to help after the Boxing Day catastrophe has been officially recognised for his services by the Thai authorities.

Less than 24 hours after the region was placed on tsunami alert after the Monday night quake, the authorities in Phuket, Thailand's famous tourist destination, made Ibizan volunteer Nicolas Serra Walker one of six foreign members of the region's special tourist police force.

Walker's primary task will be to act as an intermediary between the Thai people and visitors. He and the other five foreign tourist police, all chosen in recognition of the hard work and vital aid they have provided over the past three months, have been charged with explaining to visitors and holidaymakers what caused the tsunami and the effects it had.

Walker has been working in Thailand since January where he started work on a project to re-build the homes of five families.
After that he threw himself into helping clean up the area and joined another housing reconstruction programme which he has yet to complete.
Over the past three months, various teams of local volunteers have gone out to different parts of the disaster area to help. Millions of euros have been raised by a host of fund-raising events across the Balearics.

There were a host of Balearic residents, most of them foreign such as Britons, Swedes and Germans, caught up in the tsunami. All sections of the community have been, and still are, working to raise funds.

What is more, the Balearic government launched an initiative yesterday to encourage 400 schools to help raise money for the tsunami-hit region. “Together for Asia in Schools” is the slogan for the fund raising campaign which, it is hoped, will also encourage more young children to take part in fund raising events.

So far, participating schools have raised 45'000 euros from craft markets, theatre productions and concerts - now the campaign has been thrown open to hundreds of educational centres across the Balearics.

Hero skipper back home

THE Palma-based luxury yacht caught by the tsunami in Patong Bay near Phuket, returns home this weekend.
Lady Ecosse skippered by hero captain Robin Bollard is due to dock in Palma on Friday, ending her winter on the Pacific and Southern Seas.
Majorca-based Captain Bollard steered his crew to safety by literally taking on the wall of sea as it headed for Patong Bay.
Bollard told the Bulletin two days after the disaster that they were moored up in the middle of the bay when the tsunami hit.
He spoke of how the bay emptied of water “as if someone had pulled the plug” and at one point, they were worried about the 140-foot yacht keeling over.

Luckily, all the crew were on board at the time and he gave the order to start the engines and headed the yacht straight for the mouth of the bay and the on--coming wall of sea. “I wanted to get out of the bay before the real big waves started breaking as then we would have been in serious trouble,” he said.

Bollard managed the beat the killer waves and sail to safety.


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