My life here in the British Gurkha Veterans Association (BGVA) Nuneaton

Why was BGVA formed?

I am retired Captain Bakhat Bahadur Gurung, who arrived and permanently settled in Nuneaton in August 2006. After that, many Ex-Gurkhas and their families continuously came and settled in Nuneaton. Most families faced difficulties communicating in English and performing basic daily activities. Some of the main struggles was booking for the National Insurance appointment and interview, opening up a bank account, renting a property, applying for the benefit, registering with GP\NHS and finding a job etc. The main population of Ex-Gurkhas are aged demographic and they have found the most difficult during bereavement because of the language barrier.

After considering the above-mentioned difficulties, in 2009 we (Veterans) decided to form the British Gurkha Veterans Association (BGVA) with a single aim to support Ex-Gurkha veterans’ welfare when necessary under command of Mr Om Prakash Gurung MBE (Chairman of BGVA).

Outcome since the establishment of BGVA:

Since the establishment of BGVA, the committee members were heavily involved and committed to supporting the member’s welfare. New member’s initial settlement phase was much smoother because of the great help and guidance received from the BGVA and further helped in their day to day life too. Below are the few highlights of support provided by BGVA to its members:

Free English Class

The language was one of the main obstacles therefore BGVA took the initiative to provide free English classes twice a week to improve communication skills. Not only, it helped in communication but these classes also improved integration with locals and widened their knowledge in British culture. Now, members are confident in performing their daily activities solely.

Guidance and Support with Documents

BGVA helps members in filling/explaining documents and signposting to relevant departments. May it be, in preparing documents for member’s dependent’s ILE visa (Indefinite Leave to Enter) application in the UK, or applying for NI, applying benefits etc….

Visit Programme

To enrich a member’s life, BGVA organises visit programmes at least twice a year. Most of the members are non-drivers and elderly therefore these trips are well appreciated.

Free Health Check

In partnership with George Eliot Hospital, BGVA arranges free health check at least twice a year to identify early symptoms.

Yoga Class

Embracing the saying ‘Health is Wealth’ BGVA arranges yoga class twice a week. Members utilise it as a platform to socialise with others and get in touch with each other’s while keeping to stay healthy.

Armed Forces Day

Each year BGVA members proudly take part in Armed Forces Day parade together with British counter path. The parade is held in different cities every year.

Remembrance Parade (Poppy Day)

On Remembrance Day, BGVA proudly takes part in Nuneaton parade and lays a wreath.                                        

Gurkha Monument

26th of April 2015 was a historic day for Ex-Gurkhas in Nuneaton. It was the day when the Gurkha Monument was inaugurated by the Queen’s representative. The monument is dedicated and in respect of our fallen Heroes. The cost of the monument was £52,000 approximately. On the inauguration day, the monument was blessed by different spiritual leaders: Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Sikh and Muslim religious leaders.

Standard Bearer

Nuneaton BGVA is the first BGVA to have Standard Bearer in the United Kingdom. Mr Dharam John Rai is the carrier of our BGVA Standard Bearer.

Support During Bereavement

Understandably death in the family is the most difficult time and our members find it exponentially difficult due to culture clashes, different procedures and language barrier.

Majority of members are living by themselves, away from their family. Bereaved family members struggled to get a death certificate from the hospital and arranging the funeral ceremony.

After the establishment of BGVA, the committee has taken full responsibility of getting a death certificate, liaising with the funeral director in arranging the funeral ceremony and in performing final rituals. In cases of the bereaved family wishing to take the body back to Nepal, BGVA committee is committed to arranging necessary documents and making a difficult time a little bit easier.

Support During Good times

BGVA is not only there during difficult times but also there in celebrating success and multiplying happiness. Mostly during our member’s children’s wedding parties, upon request BGVA committee supports in booking party hall, liaising with catering, beverage/drinks, entertainment and hosting guests.

Involvement in Charity

BGVA firmly believes in the principle of Giving by supporting Gurkha Welfare Trust and annual Poppy appeal. All monies collected are handed over to Gurkha Welfare Centre and British Legion.   

Victoria Cross Wall Project

The future project of BGVA is dedicating Victoria Cross Wall in honour of all recipients of the prestigious Victoria Cross from the Queen. As of now, there are 26 VC recipients in British Army and among them 13 are Gurkhas.

Captain (Retd) Bakhat Bahadur Gurung