Every so often the Gurkha Welfare Trust features one of our Veteran’s stories from the Gurkha Stories oral history project. This week they have chosen Udai Gurung…
We are delighted that The Gurkha Welfare Trust is to publicise our Veterans’ oral history stories on their social media pages. This means the stories will be shared with a wide audience and outreach and spreading the history of the Gurkha Veterans. Our first posting had over 1600 ‘Likes’!
The full website and extract from Veterans’ stories can be viewed at www.gurkhastories.com together with our community film and school resource pack.
Ladies and Gentleman, the Gurkha Home Project at Abbeygate House, has just finished its first project call Chautara (Resting Place) here in Colchester. The second project will be Mandir (Temple), both projects are in honour of the 200 years’ service to the British Crown and Queen’s country. (The Chautara is a stone resting place traditionally used by Nepalese travellers to rest their dokos/baskets.)
Retired officer, Umesh Pun MVO, community champion for Gurkha Stories, has just returned from his successful third visit to Nepal to distribute aid with the charity Team Rubicon UK. He and his colleagues distributed much-needed equipment and materials for building houses in remote villages with communities of both the very elderly and school age. As you’ll see from the photos Team Rubicon achieved so much good on this trip and it’s very rewarding to see the donations being put to such good causes. Solar lights were given to villages, schools and houses were rebuilt and donated to communities in the Gorkha district, Takum village and Padelthok Ghau Ward4. Team Rubicon partnered up with the Chaudari Foundation, PwC London and Seed Charity organisations to give the gift of light!
The photos of Umesh Pun MVO tell the stories…
293 Gurkha veterans from the London area proudly received their Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal with dignity today in a formal ceremony which took place in Colchester, arranged by Capt. (Ret’d) Umesh Kumar Pun MVO. Umesh has made it one of his goals to apply for the PJM medal for as many veterans as he can discover who are eligible to receive it. He applies on their behalf and then arranges a ceremony according to geographical location. So far around 3,000 Gurkha veterans have received their PJM medals all thanks to Umesh’s dedicated work.
The PJM medal is one which was awarded by the King and Government of Malaysia in recognition of the veterans’ service during the Malayan Emergency, Second Malayan Emergency, and the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation over 50 to 60 years ago. Today the ceremony was was opened by a Piper who led the the visiting General of the Malaysian Army who then presided over the ceremony. The General thanked the veterans for their brave contributions all those decades ago in an extremely difficult climate and dangerous conditions. The veterans gave a rousing three cheers to the General.
The average age of the veterans is approaching 80 years old, but the oldest veteran of all to receive his medal was retired Corporal Dal Prasad at 92 years old. He presented the General with a special present of a Nepalese scarf in gold colour as a thank you to the Government of Malaysia.
It was a truly special day and an honour to be invited as a guest.
Originally born in India while his father was in the Indian Army, Karna and his mother moved back to their mountain village in Nepal to farm when he was around three years old. Karna saw active combat service in Malaysia during the 1960s and was ambushed four times. Karna’s story is recounted in our book, published later this year…
After getting enlisted into the Gurkhas, the basic training that we did as a new recruit after coming to Malaysia was all about fighting battles: how to kill your enemy and how to survive. For that we must remember and was taught that fitness was very important before going to the battle. With fitness, one is able to survive and destroy the enemy and also save lives of our friends.
Karna features in our short film which can be viewed on our website by clicking on here.
Portrait by Roy Essery
(Photo: Gurkha Museum)
It is one year since last August’s tea party at Abbeygate House with the young National Citizen Service (NCS) young adults. This summer’s 2015 group for the NCS in Colchester has spent the last month fundraising to sponsor young children in Nepal to attend school. The young group went on a sponsored walk and a busking session in the town and raised almost £400 for schools children in Nepal.
As a thank you, the Gurkha community invited the group to a lunch party in early August and a lot of dancing went down! A fusion of traditional Nepalese dancing holding heavy trays and skilfully balancing them while twirling mixed with Colchester’s finest young ‘groovers’!
The event coincided with the Colchester Gazette awarding the Gurkha community at Abbeygate House with their ‘Local Hero’ award and £100 to share with the home for their voluntary work in the community, tending gardens, planting vegetables and promoting vibrant garden spaces in public areas.