Home   Kent   News   Article

Exclusive: from our man in Nepal with Joanna Lumley

Joanna Lumley was in Folkestone to cheer on the marching Gurkhas
Joanna Lumley was in Folkestone to cheer on the marching Gurkhas

Exclusive by Chris Denham and Mary Louis

An overwhelming welcome awaited Gurkha champion and actress Joanna Lumley when she arrived in Nepal on Sunday.

KM Group journalist Chris Denham, who is travelling with her party, has described how the actress was mobbed to KentOnline.

Ms Lumley, whose father served with the 6th Gurkha Rifles, has headed the campaign to enable Gurkha veterans to have the right to settle in Britain.

She is accompanied on her week-long trip to Nepal to meet Gurkha veterans and their families, by Shepway councillor Peter Carroll, from Folkestone, where the Royal Gurkha Rifles are based.

Cllr Carroll is a lynchpin of the Gurkha Justice Campaign and has been involved with it since the outset in 2003, when he was asked to help a Gurkha veteran facing deportation after 22 years’ service in the British Army.

KM business development editor Chris Denham has been covering the campaign, and is with the Kent contingent in Nepal.

KM group reporter Chris Denham
KM group reporter Chris Denham

He described the experience of arriving at Kathmandu’s Tribuhuvan International Airport.

Speaking three hours later, at 1.30pm GMT today, Chris said: “It was incredible, there were thousands of people there in the rain all waving banners.

“They said things like ‘Welcome To Nepal Goddess Joanna’, ‘I owe Joanna’, ‘Goddess of Nepal’.

“I have never seen anything like it, Joanna Lumley was mobbed. People were putting garlands around her neck and around Peter Carroll’s.

“She was besieged. They had to use an army escort to get Joanna out of there. There were lots of police there as well.

“To be honest I was a bit scared that it was going to get out of hand.

“This is one of the poorest places on earth, I have never seen such poverty and some of the guys greeting Joanna were old and injured.

“Our arrival was the most amazing experience.”

In May, former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced that all ex-Gurkhas who have served more than four years in the British Army, have earned the right to settle here in the UK if they wish.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More