As she ventured from her plane in Kathmandu, swarms of previous Gurkhas waved notices in the storm rain, hailing the on-screen character a ‘goddess’ what’s more, ‘daughter’ of their poor country.
Watching that scene in the capital last Regal was one ex-rifleman, presently prodding 70 yet with a ramrod back uncovering his military past.
Unman Singh Gurung had no suspicion of Lumley’s Television notoriety as the striking Purdey in The New Justice fighters or, on the other hand the high-living Patsy in Totally Fabulous.
Actress Joanna Lumley: driving light of the Gurkha Equity campaign
A rancher procuring 35p a day, he knew as it were that this English woman was the driving light of the Gurkha Equity Campaign, which had constrained the English Government into a emotional U-turn.
Thanks to Ms Lumley, warriors like himself could at last settle in the faraway arrive for which they had battled in their youth.
Mr Gurung was excited. He imagined a cheerful retirement in England, with free lodging from a nearby board what’s more, a better than average state pension.
Today those dreams are shattered. Penniless, he has spent months stranded in a mildewed storage room room above an exhaust shop in Aldershot, Hampshire.
He talks no English, so his shots of work are next to nil. He can scarcely read or, on the other hand compose in Nepalese. However he took out an excessively expensive credit what’s more, sold everything (his family house, farmland, cows what’s more, goats) to raise the cash to get here. Presently profound in debt, he could not bear a flight home indeed on the off chance that he needed to.
Meanwhile, in Nepal, his spouse Laxmi, 56, child Sunil, 26, what’s more, little girl Phul, 16, confront an similarly questionable future. They have no cash to fly to England or, then again to pay for the three UK visas they require to settle here.
Their home what’s more, business gone, they share one leased room with a concrete floor in a remote village. This family is likely to remain separated on inverse sides of the world for the rest of their lives.
But Mr Gurung is not alone. There are numerous other ex-gurkhas like him, what’s more, recently the Armed force Kind Support voiced grave concern over the old men.
Annabelle Fuller, for the charity, said: ‘They come with no thought of the cost of living in a nation where the essential cost of setting up a leased home is 2,000.
‘They are asking us for help. The Service of Protection anticipated this would happen, yet the media center of the battle was on the Gurkhas’ rights to settle.’
Nepalese agriculturist what’s more, ex English armed force Gurkha Uman Singh Gurung, imagined in his rotten Aldershot bedsit, after arriving in the UK having sold his cultivate what’s more, acquired cash to pay for his visa what’s more, flight
In a further conundrum, this examination has found that the old soldiers’ ‘trades union’, the Gurkha Armed force Ex-Servicemen’s Association (GAESO) in Nepal, is charging each veteran 500 in money for UK visa exhortation while weaving ruddy stories about life here, which is sloping up the numbers setting off.
At GAESO’s Nepal offices, specialists from a top firm of London human rights lawyers, Howe & Co, moreover get a lawful help expense of up to 500 from the English Government for each old officer what’s more, each family part they offer assistance fill in a UK visa application.
It is demonstrating a gold mine for all concerned – separated from the Gurkhas themselves. For the old warriors have been sold out a second time.
Despite 200 a long time as a battling force, the Gurkhas were to start with conceded settlement rights in England in 2004. The administering was a prohibitive one, applying to men who had been released from benefit <cite>after </cite>the English hand-over of Hong Kong to China in 1997, at the point when the Gurkhas’ Detachment moved to England from the Far East.
Older troopers at last won the same rights last May. Joanna Lumley hailed it a obligation of respect to the 50,000 Gurkhas slaughtered in two world wars what’s more, in afterward encounters in the Far East in the Sixties.
It was an issue close to her heart – the life of her father, an officer in the English Indian Army, was spared in northern Burma amid World War II by a Gurkha.
Every Gurkha with four years’ benefit can presently move to the UK, where he is entitled to welfare benefits, counting a nearby lodging recompense (housing benefit) what’s more, a pension.
In all, 2,600 new UK settlement visas were conceded to Gurkhas, their spouses what’s more, relatives between the Government climbdown in May what’s more, the end of December last year.
More than 2,110 are still being processed. The Armed force Altruistic Subsidize what’s more, the Service of Safeguard anticipate the last headcount for landings will top 30,000.
Uman Singh Gurung talks no English, so his possibilities of work are next to nil
The Mail has gone to GAESO’s occupied Kathmandu office, where lines of men hold up to fill in visa forms.
One clearing out the building at noon as of late was an 85-year-old veteran of the Malaya insurrection who said he had paid 500 to GAESO some time recently being made a difference by a Howe & Co legal counselor with the paperwork.
The ex-Gurkha strolled with a stick what’s more, inclined for bolster on the elbow of his 21-year-old grandson. ‘Yes, I will come to your country,’ he said simply. ‘My family, my grandchildren, too.’
At another GAESO office in the second city, Pokhara, the names of Gurkhas conceded settlement visas are printed on A4 sheets covering the divider of a long corridor.
They uncover that from this one office alone, 700 veterans have gotten visas what’s more, almost 500 more have had their application endorsed what’s more, are just holding up for their travel permits to be returned from our Government with the visa stamp inside.
The costs of the travel are huge. On top of a 500 ‘fee’ to GAESO for ‘legal exhortation what’s more, paperwork’, each Gurkha what’s more, each relative must pay an extra 583 expense per individual for UK settlement visas what’s more, at minimum 350 each for the one-way air ticket.
Such wholes are out of the reach of numerous families, so most of the old men travel alone, trusting to bring their families later.
Even then, veterans regularly arrive as of now profoundly in obligation at London’s Heathrow airport. Confounded what’s more, frightened, they have no thought how to get a room or, then again where to go next.
The dreary welcome is at chances with unrestrained stories of Britain’s largesse woven by GAESO authorities in Nepal. Veterans say they anticipated to get prompt annuity installments what’s more, their possess house inside hours of arrival.
The truth is so different. Gurkhas in their 60s what’s more, 70s are living in dirty rooms – especially in towns around their previous army base close Aldershot – where they can’t bear the rent.
The Mail has tuned in to awful stories of men still holding up for state support, months after coming here. One nearby council, Rushmoor in Hampshire conceded that ‘several thousands’ may be in the area.
Many Gurkhas can’t demonstrate their age, causing delays in issuing national protection numbers, a pre-requisite for benefits. A representative said: ‘Because they battled for Ruler what’s more, nation they think they ought to get a house immediately, yet obstacles have to be jumped. We give them a free transport pass in the event that they are 60.’
Huddling from the snow at a Gurkha welfare office in Aldershot, we found five old warriors who couldn’t talk English, since they have never served in Britain, what’s more, who are all short of money. ‘There are 19 of us in the town what’s more, we have nothing,’ said one, through an interpreter.
Unman Singh Gurung’s family in Nepal have devastating obligations after they sold the family cultivate what’s more, acquired cash to send him to the UK
In close-by Farnborough, ex-Gurkha what’s more, rancher Kul Bahadur Ale, 63, is too battling four months after arriving.
Blinded in his right eye in a scything accident, he acquired cash to get here what’s more, pays 400 a month for a bed in a shared room on a rundown edge of town. He has enrolled with a nearby doctor, yet that has been his as it were contact with officialdom.
He said: ‘Britain is a created nation where I merit free lodging what’s more, a pension. GAESO told me they were my rights. I have not gotten a penny.’
To demonstrate his point he produces a market pack containing his papers. The as it were letter with a English address is one from the NHS, calling him – mysteriously – for a gut screening program at the nearby hospital.
His companion Padam Pun, a year more youthful what’s more, from the same town two days’ walk from Pokhara, added: ‘What are we Gurkhas going to do now?’ Both men hung their heads at the thought of never having the cash to bring their spouses what’s more, families to join them.
These are typical tragedies. At Christmas, an ex-Gurkha in his 50s was found by police in East London late one night gripping a transport ticket from Heathrow. He was lost, hungry what’s more, frightened. An translator was called to help.
She explained: ‘He was sitting on the asphalt crying. He had one old bag what’s more, the transport ticket. The police put him in their auto what’s more, drove him to the Gurkha Welfare Society in Farnborough, Hampshire.’
Hero’s welcome: Joanna on a parade to a rally in her respect in Nepal
Dr Hugh Milroy, boss official of UK philanthropy Veterans’ Help for destitute exsoldiers, says he as of late found one Gurkha asking in London. ‘He had not eaten. He’d as it were been here for five days what’s more, was battling already.
‘He kept saying ‘house, house’. It was his as it were English word. He needs a interpreter to do anything. We put him in a inn be that as it may it has cost 1,000 for one month.
‘These veterans are arriving with no work abilities what’s more, no thought of life here. There are no board homes. Indeed on the off chance that there were, they require to be capable to bear to run that home.’
As the emergency grew, the Service of Protection set up a settlement office in Kathmandu to give free counsel on the reality of English life. An official flyer issued there clarifies welfare entitlements.
For example, a veteran what’s more, his spouse both matured 62, in a one-bedroom level ought to get 308 a week in benefits credit installments what’s more, nearby lodging allowance.
However, they would be out of take after paying a typical week by week charge of 314 made up of 60 for food, lease of 113, in addition telephone charges, a Television licence, gas, warming what’s more, travel costs. Indeed this is not the true tally. The capital cost of purchasing a car, a close need in Hampshire where most of the Gurkhas have settled, is not included.
Typical of the Gurkhas gotten up in this emergency is Mr Gurung, who arrived in October after offering everything he had what’s more, taking out a highinterest credit of almost 2,000, which together raised 3,000.
Today, he owes a month’s lease of 300 for the tiny room in Aldershot where he was remaining until a push over his obligations a maybe a couple weeks ago.
He is presently dozing on the couch of a few Nepalese companions in the town, where, through an interpreter, he said: ‘I required almost 1,500 to cover the visa fee, my airfare what’s more, the 500 I was charged by GAESO for “legal exhortation what’s more, paperwork”.’
Upon entry at Heathrow he got a taxi what’s more, paid 100 in money – the equal of a year’s wage in Nepal – to travel to a Gurkha welfare office in Aldershot which was the as it were address he had been given by GAESO. Staff there put him up for two evenings wh