The unsung heroes who ensured campaign's success

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The Independent Online

Joanna Lumley has, of course, become the very public face of the struggle for Gurkha rights and yesterday the Prime Minister's spokesman was asked whether she will receive an honour for her part in the campaign.

A decision was made early on by those backing the Gurkhas that the actress, who is not only a household name but also the daughter of a former Gurkha officer, should have the highest profile. But, behind the scenes, the Nepalese soldiers have been helped by a well-organised and extensive support team which has also benefited from huge public support.

Two organisations – the Gurkha Justice Campaign, of which Ms Lumley is a member, and the Gurkha Welfare Society – have been the guiding forces in the ultimately successful movement which had to go to the High Court to fight the Government almost every step of the way.

Martin Howe and Edward Cooper have been among those leading the legal teams. Peter Carroll, of the Justice Campaign, is a councillor in Folkestone where the Royal Gurkha Rifles are based, and Chhatra Rai, a former soldier now in the Welfare Society, have all played a major part in keeping the issue in the public eye.

The campaign has not lacked funds, as the cause has generated a lot of public goodwill, but there have also been a number of notable individual contributors such as the millionaire Sir Jack Hayward, a former RAF pilot, who gave around £25,000.

Various unofficial forces' websites have also taken an active part in mobilising support. Mohan Bahadur Rai, a former Gurkha rifleman, said: "Everyone helped. Miss Joanna is the person everyone is talking about, but do not forget 250,000 people signed a petition which was handed in to Downing Street. In particular we are very grateful to the legal teams."

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