Newsletter 54

Welcome to our weekly newsletter

This week we welcomed:

  • Our speaker, Bruce Jackman from The Gurkha Welfare Trust (GWT) - see below for more details;
  • Tony Goring from the charity called Motivation, who has expressed an interest in membership;
  • John Pontin, a guest of Derrick Royall, who will be coming to speak to us in October;
  • Nicky Maidment, a guest of Sue Pietersen.

Notices and Announcements

  • The funeral of John Hollier has now been fixed to take place on Tuesday 25th July at 2pm at St Peters Church in Henleaze, then afterwards at the Eastfield Inn, Westbury on Trym.
  • We offered congratulations to Roger Key for his birthday on 25th July
  • Aaron Gough will be getting married to Joanna Cannard on Saturday 5th August at 12.30 p.m. at St Mary’s Church, Henbury.

Rotary in Bristol

Mary Whittington chaired the latest meeting of Rotary in Bristol held at Bristol South’s venue, with reps from Bristol Rotary and Clifton Rotary as well. Note the following points

  • This joint initiative is aiming at closer cooperation between the clubs on Marketing, PR and membership activities and End Polio Now fundraising and supporting each other’s events
  • Bristol Rotary are working on Peaceful Portway Event on 17th September (click here for poster) and are seeking support from the other clubs
  • More detailed minutes are available if anyone would like to keep up to date.

Homelessness Project – Bridewell redevelopment by Bristol YMCA

On 13th October John Whittaker and your President visited the redevelopment into a 100 bed hostel of the old Bridewell Police HQ being undertaken by Bath and Bristol YMCA. Ninety of these for “backpackers”, generating an income to finance ten assisted places for young people who re on the brink of homelessness.

There are lots of connections for the club. Former members Laurence Payne and Paul Blackham were both Trustees of Bristol YMCA. Three of our former members namely Steve Livings, Alan Morgan and Ray Shipway were all stationed in the Bridewell building during its time as Police HQ; the constructions work is being undertaken by John Perkins Construction Limited, the family business of David Perkins. This is a project which we have promised to support financially as part of our programme for helping to address homelessness in the City.

We will arrange another visit.

The Gurkha Welfare Trust and the history of the Gurkhas

The Gurkha Welfare Trust (GWT) is a charity established in 1969 to provide a Welfare Pension for those Gurkhas who were discharged before they earned a Military Pension (i.e. 15 years service), or for their widows.

Three generations of Bruce Jackman's family have served with Gurkhas: His father (1934-‘48); himself (1961-‘92); and his son has served 19 years so far and recently completed his third tour in Afghanistan. Bruce says he owes so much to the Gurkhas of the 2nd K E O Goorkhas (The Sirmoor Rifles) with whom he served, fought alongside in the Brunei Rebellion (1962-’63) and Borneo Confrontation (1963-’65), and commanded in Hong Kong and Brunei (1979-’81).  So it is hardly surprising that he is supporting the Gurkha Welfare Trust which was established over 40 years ago.

Brigadier Bruce Jackman (OBE, MC) gave a highly interesting and entertaining talk about the Gurkha Welfare Trust and the history of the Gurkhas.

The Gurkha Welfare Trust provides residential homes, water and sanitation projects, as well as schools, especially for the Gurkha communities who are its beneficiaries. The need for capital investment has increased substantially as a result of recent earthquakes and it currently has plans to build 1200 new homes, 600 water projects, 220 schools and 16 community centres between now and 2022.

The history of the Gurkha regiments in the British Army is fascinating and goes back to the early nineteenth century and the battles that took place between the King of Goorkha and the soldiers employed to protect the trade routes of the East India Company. The capture of one young soldier called Frederick Young led to him learning the language and customs of his captors and this allowed him to establish a better relationship with the locals which led the formation of what was then called the Sirmoor rifles in 1815. Since then, the Gurkhas’ support as part of the British Army in India, in the first and second world wars and in all other British Army conflicts. There are now 3500 Gurkhas in the British Army in the infantry, signals and engineers.

Queen Victoria awarded them a “truncheon” as their colour and we were shown an iconic Gurkha hat and Kukri.

As a result of a successful campaign in Brunei in 1962, a significant proportion of the costs of recruitment and funding are still being  met by the Sultan of Brunei and a battalion of Gurkhas remains stationed there.

Gurkha recruitment is very competitive. They are recruited in Nepal and they remain Nepali citizens and although previously they were required to return to Nepal upon retirement, rules have recently changed to allow them to retire in the UK. Approximately, 350 recruits are taken on annually from 15,000 applicants and all are required to have the equivalent of 7 GCSEs, including English, Maths and Science. They are highly motivated

The brigadier gave details of the many awards of gallantry that have been made to Gurkha soldiers over the years and it seems clear that the Gurkhas remain an important and integral part of the British Army.

For more details please visit their website: Gurkha Welfare Trust

Roger Barnard gave an appreciative vote of thanks.

Join the club...

Membership is currently open if you would like to join our friendly pro-active group!
If you'd like to come along to a Wednesday morning meeting please email us at

Malawi Volunteering project

Derrick Royall reminded the club that if anyone has spare spectacles lying around please bring them into the Club by 2 August and he will endeavour to make them available to Mavis Loterh for her optometry students trip to Malawi.

Next Week’s Meeting

26th July - Ed Reed from Caring in Bristol will give another talk in our series about the needs of Bristol and addressing Homelessness issues.

Your President is away recovering from his first three weeks in office, so you will be in the capable hands of your Senior Vice President, Roger Key.

Future Events 

  • 2 August – Dina Stanley of Tomorrow’s People
  • 9 August - Nick Stuge of Set Squared
  • 13 October - RC Bradley Stoke – Fundraising Barn Dance on 13th October at St Mary’s RFC in Trench Lane