North East Connected

Gurkhas strike up the band in aid of Nepal homeless

The Band of the Brigade of the Gurkhas will return to Darlington for the 15th year, on October 4, for an annual fundraising concert to help provide welfare, healthcare and pensions for retired soldiers and military widows in Nepal.

This year’s concert, sponsored by Sherwoods of Darlington and organised by chairman of the Yorkshire branch of The Gurkha Welfare Trust Lt Col Keith Ryding, will also help fund ongoing relief efforts for survivors of a devastating earthquake which struck the remote country last year.

Col Ryding, of West Burton, who served with the Gurkhas for nine years with the Queen’s Gurkha Signal Regiment and Parachute Company, said: “The Gurkhas come from the mountain villages in Nepal which were hit hard by the earthquake killing more than 8,000 people including 13 of our own welfare pensioners.

“More than 2,000 of our former soldiers and their families were made homeless and many were left without access to food, water and medical supplies.

“Obviously there are huge amounts of money needed at this time of great distress to help our retired soldiers and the backing that we receive from local people who attend the concert and in particular Sherwoods, who are staunch supporters of the Gurkhas, is invaluable.”

The Gurkha Welfare Trust rebuilding programme is already progressing at apace in Nepal and to date has completed 400 new homes, with a further 400 expected to be finished by June 2017.

Fifty schools damaged by the earthquake have been repaired as well as the trust’s own welfare centres.

Managing director of Sherwoods, Alasdair MacConachie, whose father commanded a Gurkha battalion in Burma, said: “It is wonderful to see The Band of the Brigade of the Gurkhas return to Darlington once more following their triumphant bi-centennial concert at Durham Cathedral last year.

“It has never been more important that we try to raise as much money as possible to help with the relief efforts in Nepal and to support the fantastic work of The Gurkha Welfare Trust who do a truly outstanding job.”

The concert, which will be held at The Dolphin Centre, Darlington, will feature an eclectic mix of military, folk and band music culminating in the Brigade of the Gurkhas March.

In addition to the musical renditions, the performance will also include the famous Kukri knife dance with the flash of sharpened steel adding extra zest to the evening’s entertainment.

Tickets for the concert are available from the Dolphin Centre on (01325) 388406, Sherwoods on (01325) 466155 or the Gurkha Welfare Trust on (01969) 663551. Prices are £12 and £7.50 (£10.00 and £6.00 for senior citizens and children aged 16 and under)

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