Senior council leaders were given an insight into the Gurkha community last week – with a special visit to their Catterick Garrison base.
Members and Officers of Richmondshire District Council went to the Helles Barracks as part of work to further strengthen the bond between the two organisations. The visit allowed council members to understand the Gurkha company functions and routine business – as well as the work done to promote continuous support and community engagement with the British public and local governance.
This event followed a visit by Gurkha Company to the Council offices in Richmond last October.
They were given a traditional Gurkha welcome and presented with Khada – a ceremonial scarf which symbolises purity and compassion.
Major ER Withey RGR explained the training and selection process of new Gurkha recruits, telling officers how up to 10,000 Nepalese young men apply to join Gurkha Company each year but it is reduced to just 240 through a rigorous selection process.
In the FIBUA training area (Fighting In Built Up Areas) they watched young recruits experiencing a lesson in how to clear buildings, had a tour around the Mine and Explosives Museum, saw recruits during CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) training, took part in English Language lessons and had the opportunity to chat to recruits about their experiences of training so far.
Chairman of the Council, Councillor Tony Duff – who thanked event co-ordinator Sgt Jitendra Tamang for the visit – said: “It was an honour and pleasure to be invited to Gurkha Company and see at first hand some of the training these young recruits experience during their demanding 39 weeks.
“I am very fond of the Gurkhas as I was stationed next to them when in Sarawak in Borneo -they frightened the Indonisians so kept them away from my troop.”
The visit was also attended by Vice-Chairman, Cllr Angie Dale, Leader, Cllr Yvonne Peacock, Deputy Leader, Cllr Ian Threfall, Cllr Pat Middlemiss, Cllr Helen Grant, Chief Executive, Tony Clark, and officers Carole Dew, Jo-Anne Simpson and Caroline Pounder.