Our heroic Gurkhas have been fighting a different battle in Folkestone, the battle against litter.
Scaling down the Leas Cliff, the team of Nepalese soldiers make quick work of the discarded rubbish caught in hedgerows, to the delight of passers-by who stop to pass on their gratitude.
26-year-old Lance Corporal Om Laksham said it was important for the The Royal Gurkha rifles to be involved: “Folkestone is our hometown and if home is clean then it’s good, it represents us.”
Clearing the area leading down from the Leas Cliff in difficult terrain would, for most of the community, be a challenge, but for our Gurkhas, possibly not. Lance Corporal Om Laksham said they would be there until they cleared the area: “The terrain is quite difficult but I don’t think for the guys to do this job is challenging; they are doing really well without difficulty.”
The occasion marks the national ‘Clean for the Queen’ campaign, tackling litter ahead of her Majesty’s 90th birthday in events around the Country.
Councillor Jennifer Hollingsbee said she was delighted that our Gurkha soldiers were taking part: “Going on the terrain from the leas to the beach, it’s something that not all of us can undertake. It’s a beautiful view, but I would encourage people to think before they drop something, it can blow into the most difficult places.”
Councillor Jennifer Hollingsbee
Lance Corporal Om Laksham
“I think people tend to forget and tend to think that it’s so easy to throw it down rather than put it in the nearest bin. And of course we’ve got the coast, having litter in the sea is not very pleasant.”
Corporal Pralon Kulung Rai said he was really pleased to give something back to the local community, whose support and welcome that is offered to the soldiers is valued by all of them: “We work very closely with the local community in Folkestone.
"The support and respect we get from them is tremendous and as we look to send many of our troops to Afghanistan again, the community support to our families becomes even more important. The contribution of local schools, businesses and council services all play a vital role in ensuring families are well looked after, and our soldiers are in the best possible mind for deployment.”
The Nepalese community have taken an active role in keeping the district lean since the Gurkha regiment moved to the Shorncliffe Barracks in 2001, regularly picking litter with equipment from the council.
Councillor Stuart Peall, Cabinet Member for the Environment said he wanted to remind everyone that we can all help by not dropping litter in the first place.