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Joanna is a Goddess', insists former Gurkha

PUBLISHED: 16:24 29 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:58 25 August 2010

JOANNA Lumley has been hailed as a Goddess by a former Gurkha soldier following her hero s welcome to in Nepal.

JOANNA Lumley has been hailed as a Goddess by a former Gurkha soldier following her hero's welcome to in Nepal.

The Absolutely Fabulous star arrived in Nepal - home to the British Army's Gurkha regiment - to a rapturous crowd on Sunday.

Ms Lumley spearheaded a campaign which led to parliament voting to give the heroic soldiers the right to settle in the UK in May.

Former Kent-based Gurkha Shrichandra Gurung, who has served in the British Army all over the world, said: "She definitely deserves all the fuss and attention. She will be very well looked after there because the whole country respects her. Not just Gurkha soldiers, but the whole of Nepal.

"Joanna is like an icon to Gurkhas. She is like a true daughter of the Gurkhas. We feel that she is one of us. She really is a Goddess for Nepalese people.

"We would love to meet her here but we know she is extremely busy and will be for quite some time.

"She would definitely receive a hero's welcome over there."

Mr Gurung, 46, served in the Bramcote 36 regiment as a Staff Sergeant for 20 years and retired in January 2001. The married father-of-one now works in security at Lehman Brothers in Canary Wharf, central London. Ms Lumley, who played Purdy in the classic 1970s show The Avengers, was mobbed by well-wishers and the media as she flew in to Kathmandu from London.

After meeting prime minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal, she said: "I would like to say what an honour it was to meet the prime minister who was so gracious to us. He made a wonderful speech of welcome and he was pleased with the work we have done for the Gurkha veterans."

Joe Hoadley, a WWII veteran who played a crucial role observing the German frontline after the D-Day landings, said he greatly admires the Gurkha regiment.

Mr Hoadley, of Milton Road, Swanscombe, said: "They should be entitled to everything that all ex-servicemen are. I respect them very much and think we all owe them a great debt of honour. I admire them. They are born soldiers."

The 86-year-old added: "Ms Lumley did a darn good job. No-one else in the public

eye stepped up to fight for them, but she did and she carried on until she got them what they wanted.

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