Conservatives raise funds for local Gurkha charity
14th June 2009
Reading West Conservatives, supported by local Gurkha veterans, ran a stall at the League of Friends of the Royal Berkshire Hospital show in Tilehurst on Saturday 13 June selling books and cakes to raise funds for the newly established local Gurkha charity “The Forgotten British Gurkha”.
Alok Sharma, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Reading West, said: “Having raised funds last year for our local Gurkha veterans we were keen to do our bit again to raise some money for this really deserving new charity. As ever, local Reading people were very generous and we want to thank everyone who made a donation with £325 being collected during the afternoon. The Gurkhas are a proud and hard-working people who believe in standing on their own feet but many of our local Gurkha veterans need help right now and this money will go into the fund which provides for some basic needs.”
Tilehurst resident Peter Beckinsale, who served as a training officer with the Gurkhas and is the Founder of the Forgotten British Gurkha charity, commented: “A very big thank you to Alok Sharma and his team for their wonderful fund raising initiative and we are very grateful to Alok for all the support he has been giving to Reading’s Gurkha veterans over the past year.”
Peter Beckinsale explained how the charity was formed: "We had heard of a group of Gurkha veterans sleeping on the floor in a small flat supported by a former Gurkha sergeant major, who works as a bus driver in Reading, and also with support from the Royal British Legion. At the time there were ten men, eating in shifts in the hallway. Some of these men had won gallantry awards, all had served Britian and some were in their 60s."
Peter continued: "We were appalled by the way these brave veterans were being forced to live and a few of us got together locally to form this charity. We have already helped some local veterans and now with the granting of indefinite leave to remain in the UK to other Gurkhas we have many new projects to undertake. If anyone wants to know more about the charity or make a donation please call us on 0845 003 9958 or visit our website www.theforgottenbritishgurkha.co.uk."
Photos: (top) Alok Sharma and Councillor Tom Steele with Gopal Singh Gurung and Sanbahador Thakali, (bottom) Alok and local Conservatives with Peter Beckinsale, Birkha Rai, Sanbahador Thakali and Gopal Gurung.