First building named after ‘King Charles III’ opened at British Gurkhas Pokhara Camp in Nepal
Rt Hon Dr Andrew Murrison MP, Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, pictured with Col Paul Smith, Commander British Gurkhas Nepal, Lt Gen Richard Wardlaw OBE, Col Comdt British Gurkhas, and Brig The Rt Hon. Lord Mark Lancaster of Kimbolton, Dep Col Comdt British Gurkhas, at the official opening of the new King Charles III hall (Crown Copyright / MOD 2023)
A new hall, believed to be the first building named after His Majesty King Charles III, was recently opened by the Rt Hon Dr Andrew Murrison MP, Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families. The building was constructed by a Nepali local contractor and Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) team in Nepal.
The British Gurkhas Nepal requested permission from King Charles to name the hall after him, which he gave. It was opened by the Minister on a visit last month to British Gurkhas Nepal, during which he took part in the first Gurkhas Attestation parade of the King’s reign.
The hall replaced a previous gym facility at British Gurkhas Pokhara (BGP) Camp, with work commencing in December 2021 and completing a year later, two months ahead of schedule. This was quite an achievement given the disruptions of COVID, some extreme weather conditions and material supply issues resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In total the hall cost £990,000, representing excellent value for money as a similar facility in the UK would likely cost in excess of £2.5 million.
The building was designed to meet both UK building regulations and the seismic standard needed in Nepal, which has suffered from serious earthquakes. The construction works were conducted by local Nepali contractors supplemented by DIO tradesmen, under the supervision of senior DIO Nepal military and civilian staff. The team used a combination of locally procured materials and materials shipped from the UK for the project. Sustainable air source heat pumps were incorporated within this building to provide hot water in the ablution facilities, and this resulted in lower carbon footprint, low energy bills and reducing maintenance burden.
Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, Dr Andrew Murrison said, “I was honoured to be invited to cut the ribbon to open the new King Charles III Hall on my recent visit to Nepal. To finish construction ahead of schedule, despite the difficulties of the last few years, is a real achievement and I was struck by the hard work of the team. It is clear that the hall will be very beneficial to the staff, their families and potential Gurkha recruits.”
SSgt Richard Bagenda Clerk of Works (Construction), DIO Nepal, said, “We’re very pleased with the finished King Charles III Hall. Our Service Personnel and DIO civilian staff worked closely with our local partners and the end result is a fantastic facility for the use of British Gurkhas Nepal staff, their families and Gurkha recruiting, a real testament to their hard work. The hall has already proved popular, and I have no doubt that will continue.”
The King Charles III Hall is multifunctional. It is used for physical training and sports; for English, Maths and some physical assessments for recruits trying to join the British Army’s famed Gurkhas, and can serve as emergency accommodation or storage for essential resources in the event of a natural disaster.