|British actress Joanna Lumley greets the crowd at Tribhuvan International Airport upon her arrival for a week-long visit to Nepal Sunday, July 26 09. She has been actively involved in the ex-British Gurkha veterans' campaign for equal rights. nepalnews.com/Swijesekera|
Holding placards which read, 'Welcome Joanna', 'Ayo Goddess Joanna', hundreds of Gurkha veterans were present at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) to welcome the 63-year-old television star. They greeted her with 'khada' and flower as a mark of respect for the active campaigning she did on behalf of Gurkhas for their right to settle in United Kingdom since the last two years.
Lumley is accompanied by Liberal Democratic Party leader Peter Carol and counselor Dhana Gurung.
The press - local as well as international - immediately hounded her when she emerged from the TIA's main exit gate. Upon arrival, TIA officials had offered a VIP lounge facility for her, but Lumley had declined.
Greeting the crowd with a big smile, she thanked the Gurkha veterans and their family for the 'extremely warm' welcome.
She is scheduled to meet President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal tomorrow morning and will be felicitated by Gurkha Army Ex-Servicemen's Organisation (GAESO) later on the day.
According to GAESO, she will also travel to Pokhara, Birtamod and other places to meet British Gurkhas and their families and learn about their living condition.
Lumley's late father Major James Rutherford Lumley had served with the 6th Gurkha Rifles and had been saved by Gurkha soldier Tul Bahadur Pun during the Second World War.
Pun later received the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest military honor, for his act of bravery during the war.
However, the VC winner was denied a settlement visa by the UK in 2007.
Lumley took up the matter and did an active campaigning on behalf of Pun and other Gurkha veterans for their right to settle in UK. Two years later, on October 2008, Gurkhas won the immigration test case to settle in the UK at London's High. nepalnews.com