1st Anniversary of the Twinning of Mechinager, Nepal and Folkestone
Friday 12th February marks the 1st anniversary of the twinning and Friendship Agreement between Mechinager, Nepal and Folkestone.
In early 2020 Jackie Meade, the then Mayor of Folkestone, flew to Nepal at her own cost, accompanied by members of the Gurkha Memorial Fund, Dhan Gurung and Ray Johnson. Neil Jones also attended as delegate to the group, to sign in person the historical agreement between Folkestone and Mechinager.
Jackie Meade said, “Folkestone is well know as the home of the British Gurkha and it was fantastic to fly to Nepal to acknowledge the friendship between our two towns and to sign in person this historical agreement between Folkestone and Mechinager. I was delighted to have the support and agreement of Folkestone Town Council and the Nepalese Ambassador."
Mechinager is south-east of Kathmandu and lies on Nepal’s eastern border with India. The Gurkhas are one of the most respected regiments of soldiers in the British Army and have been employed as an integral part of the British Army since the early 19t century. They have a network of bases across the country, with one of the largest here in Folkestone. In 2001, The Royal Ghurka Rifles moved to the army barracks in Folkestone, and since then they have built up a thriving community in the town.
Dhan Gurung of the Gurkha Memorial Fund said “The friendship agreement is to encourage the cultural exchange between our two countries, to promote understanding and knowledge of both cultures including art and history. I served as a Ghurka in the British Army for nearly 20 years before retiring in 2004 and followed on as a Folkestone Town Councillor for the Cheriton Ward between 2007 and 2011 and I am delighted that we are already one year on from the historic signing bringing our two communities ever closer together.”
Jackie Meade added, “Whilst in Mechinager last year we visited schools and water projects as well as representing Folkestone at many cultural events. It was humbling to see that around 1000 people attended the signing. A Nepalese Twinning Association is currently being set up to give structure and emphasis to the rich and important ties between us.”
Folkestone is also twinned with the small French Town of Etaples, which sits a short drive from Calais and both Etaples and Mechinager are highlighted on the “Welcome to Folkestone" signs as you approach the town by car.