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Nepal’s Gurkhas name beauty spot after ’Ab Fab’ star

world Updated: Jul 31, 2009 14:17 IST

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A beauty spot in Nepal with a view over some of the most spectacular Himalayan peaks has been named after British actress Joanna Lumley, a Gurkha veterans’ group said on Friday.

The star of television comedy “Absolutely Fabulous”, who led a successful campaign for the former British army fighters to be allowed to settle in Britain, has been feted as a goddess since she arrived in Nepal on Sunday.

On Thursday, villagers in the west of the country formally renamed the beauty spot “Lumley Viewpoint” in her honour, the head of the Gurkha Army Ex-servicemen’s Organisation told AFP.

“The locals of the Mattikhan village have named one of the hills ‘Mattikhan-Lumley Viewpoint´ for her contribution to Gurkha veterans,” said Padam Bahadur Gurung. “This is a small gift to Joanna Lumley from Nepalese British Gurkha soldiers.”

Gurung said he hoped the new name would attract tourists to the area, near the popular resort town of Pokhara. The 1,400-metre (4,600-foot) hill in western Nepal is a popular viewing spot from where some of the country’s most impressive peaks, including the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna ranges, can be seen.

The Indian-born Lumley became a rallying voice for the men she called the “bravest of the brave” after joining their campaign in 2007.

This week she has been greeted by thousands of cheering Gurkhas, many of whom walked for days to get a glimpse of the women they call “daughter of Nepal” as she travelled around the country.

The Gurkhas have been part of the British army for almost 200 years and more than 45,000 have died in British uniform. Around 3,500 currently serve in the British army, including in Afghanistan.