Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Thursday, 2 October 2008 12:04 UK

Parade as Gurkha statue unveiled

Bronze statue of a Gurkha in dress uniform
The bronze figure was created by Sussex sculptor Mary Cox

Gurkhas have paraded through Kent's county town to mark the unveiling of a statue in their honour.

Sussex sculptor Mary Cox created the bronze figure which stands, in dress uniform, on a granite plinth in the courtyard of Maidstone Museum.

It followed a fund-raising appeal which saw more than 15,000 raised for the project in three months.

Councillor Brian Moss said: "Gurkha soldiers are held in high respect by the British people."

He added: "We in Maidstone have a special affinity with the Gurkha engineers who contribute so much to life in the county town."

'Debt of gratitude'

Councillor Dan Daley, who initiated the project, said: "The Gurkha soldiers in Maidstone should know that they and their families are welcomed here and that this tribute is a genuine token of our friendship.

"The statue will remain in Maidstone as a constant reminder of the debt of gratitude that we owe to this unique band of fighting men and of our admiration of them."

He said the Gurkhas had played a significant role in the British Armed Forces since 1815 and were recognised for their bravery, courage and loyalty.

The statue was also to mark the 60th anniversary of the raising of the Queen's Gurkha Engineers.


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