Cathedral to echo to sound of British Army’s loyal soldiers

Cathedral to echo to sound of British Army’s loyal soldiers

10th September 2015


GURKHA musicians will play with added vim and vigour as an annual fundraiser gains greater poignancy in the wake of catastrophic earthquakes that ravaged their nation.

Durham Cathedral will echo to the sound of the British Army’s most loyal soldiers as they celebrate 200 years of serving the UK and raise much-needed funds for Nepal.

The 15th annual concert by The Band of the Brigade of the Gurkhas and the Pipes and Drums of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles will also be a landmark performance for the sponsors, Vauxhall dealer Sherwoods, who have supported the event since its inception.

“This year, more than ever, your help is needed,” said organiser chairman of the Yorkshire branch of The Gurkha Welfare Trust, Lt Col Keith Ryding, of West Burton, near Leyburn.

“The Gurkha 200 celebrations have of course been muted and greatly overshadowed by the tragic earthquakes in Nepal. More than 9,000 people were killed and millions left homeless. There are now over 100 serving Gurkha soldiers working in Nepal.

“Obviously there will be a continuing need for money to help people rebuild their lives, in addition to the normal welfare provided by the Gurkha Welfare Trust for healthcare and pensions for retired soldiers and military widows in Nepal.

“The concert in Durham Cathedral provides an opportunity for us to help with disaster relief whilst at the same time celebrating Gurkha 200 so we are hoping for a sell-out. 

Alasdair MacConachie, the managing director of Sherwoods, which has branches in Darlington, Northallerton and Stockton, has close links with the Gurkha regiment.

He said: “The Gurkhas have served this country impeccably for two centuries and in their hour of need it is now our turn to repay their loyalty. The cathedral will be a stunning setting for this crucial fundraiser, which promises to be among the best performances yet.”

The band will strike up at 7pm on September 30 featuring a rousing rendition of a variety of military, folk and band music, culminating in the Brigade of the Gurkhas March. There will also be the famous Kukri knife dance.

“To date we have raised more than £150,000,” said Col Ryding, who served with the Gurkhas for nine years with the Queen’s Gurkha Signal Regiment and Parachute Company.

“Sherwoods’ support means that every penny goes to help veterans and families in Nepal which is why this year we wanted to thank Alasdair with a special presentation.”

Col Ryding presented him with a framed photograph of Dalsing Limbu, a familiar figure to the people of the North-East and North Yorkshire as he figures on concert marketing material.

Now in his 80s, he first enlisted with the 4th Battalion 8th Gurkha Rifles in 1943 seeing active service in heavy fighting around Sittang, Burma.

A widower for 23 years, he lives in a remote hill village in East Nepal with the second of his two sons and four grandchildren. They rely on working a patch of dry earth to produce corn and millet to sustain them for up to five months, providing the monsoon is good.

Tickets are available from Sherwoods on (01325) 466155 or Col Ryding on (01969) 663551, or the Gala Theatre Box Office on 03000 266600, price £20 (nave) and £15 (transept).

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