A CHARITY ball organised in double-quick time by husband-and-wife Kiren and Cathy Sharma has raised £30,000 to aid Gurkhas affected by the earthquakes in Nepal.

The event, which took place at the Reading Hilton, was organised to raise urgent funds for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, which looks after soldiers including Gurkhas and their families resident in the UK, and The Gurkha Welfare Trust which provides financial, medical and development aid to Gurkha veterans, their families and communities in Nepal.

Brigadier Robin Bacon, chief of staff, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, said: “ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is immensely grateful to Kiren Sharma for organising this splendid fund raising ball at such short notice – in just two weeks.

“Thanks also to the hard-working Berkshire County Committee who did so much to help with the organisation of this event.”

The evening was hosted by Ady Williams, former captain of Reading Football Club and a presenter for BBC Radio Berkshire. Featuring auctions, a raffle and a “heads or tails” contest for some fabulous prizes, guests dug deep to raise £26,500 which Mr Sharma generously rounded up to £30,000.

The chairman of Reading-based Gravity Personnel said: “My wife, Cathy, and I would like to thank Ady Williams for donating his services as MC. I would also like to thank all those who purchased tickets and donated prizes; without them the ball would not have been such a resounding success.”

With dancing to the Army Air Corps’ pop and jazz band and a dinner, nearly 250 guests attended including serving Gurkha officers and their wives. Guests were welcomed by an honour guard of Gurkha soldiers from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Support Unit.

Karen England, director of fundraising and communications for The Gurkha Welfare Trust, said: “[The charity] would like to extend its grateful thanks to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity Berkshire and Kiren Sharma for organising the evening to raise funds for the Trust’s earthquake relief work.

“Many of the most affected regions in Nepal are situated in the traditional recruitment areas of the Brigade of Gurkhas and large numbers of Gurkha veterans and their families have lost their homes and possessions.

“The Gurkha Welfare Trust, as the lead Gurkha welfare charity, has a duty of care to these old soldiers who fought so bravely alongside their British comrades. The funds raised are a most welcome contribution to this work.”

Want to know more?

Find out more about the work of the Gurkha Welfare Trust at www.gwt.org.uk

For more information about ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, visit www.soldierscharity.org

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