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Hero's welcome for Joanna

PUBLISHED: 16:16 29 July 2009 | UPDATED: 15:48 16 August 2010

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 -

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 - last Sunday to a rapturous crowd.

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

Shrichandra Gurung, of Goldfinch Road in West Thamesmead, who has served in the British Army all over the world, said: "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."

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."

Veteran John Birch, 71, of Prescott Avenue in Petts Wood, said: "I trained with some Gurkhas in England in 1958. You can't beat them. Talk to any ex-soldier and they will tell you they are exceptional people.

"I never understood how someone who fought and died for our Queen and Country wasn't allowed to stay in this country."

"Joanna Lumley is great - she took the fight right to the top. She made all the politicians look ill with worry. I'm not surprised she got such a massive welcome in Nepal.

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