The first female Mayor of Nepalese and British Gurkha heritage in the country has been elected in Medway.
Last night (Wednesday, 24 May), at the annual meeting of Medway Council, Cllr Nina Gurung was elected as the new Mayor of Medway. She is Medway’s first Buddhist Mayor.
Cllr Gurung first came to the UK in 1999 to join her British Gurkha husband, Taikaji Gurung, who was serving with the Queen’s Gurkha Engineers, based at Invicta Barracks in Maidstone.
In 2005 Cllr Gurung and her family moved to Medway where she raised her two daughters Yasmeen Rani and Jasmine Rani who attended local schools and sixth form before going to university.
Cllr Gurung returned to education and after completing an access course at MidKent College, achieved a first-class honours degree in social work before completing a master’s degree in international relations and social policy, both from the University of Kent. Cllr Gurung is also a published researcher, whose seminal research on Gurkha settlement and integration process in the UK was instrumental in promoting community cohesion, and the study’s recommendations were noted by the Department for Communities and Local Government to aid the integration process of Gurkhas in the UK.
She has more than 12 years’ experience working in specialist children’s services and was the first female chairperson of the Gurkha Nepalese Community Medway (GNCM), where she now assists as an advisor. Cllr Gurung is also a trustee of the Buddhist Community Centre UK and two Medway-based charities, Second Chance Medway and All Saints Community Project Trust.
I hope my journey will inspire everyone in Medway
The Mayor of Medway, Cllr Gurung, said: “I am honoured to have been elected Mayor of Medway. I hope that my journey from very humble beginnings to this stage will inspire everyone in Medway to never give up, to always be kind, non-judgmental, to try and surround themselves with positive people, and always serve our communities selflessly. I am looking forward to representing Medway at a wide variety of events over the next year as well as meeting residents.”
Cllr Gurung added: “Medway is inclusive and progressive; it values and recognises the potential in every person. Medway has an extremely proud heritage and immense potential. We are open, ready, and eager for investment in all sectors; we all want a fairer, better and more prosperous Medway that promotes life chances for everyone, through communities and council leadership working together, united in vision and mission.”
Cllr Gurung has chosen SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, Medway Help for Ukrainians, and Young Medway as her chosen charities for the year.
She added: “I have chosen these three special charities as it shows our gratitude to the valour of our Armed Forces, our solidarity with the people of Ukraine and our belief in promoting and helping Medway’s young people achieve their full potential.”
Nina credits her British Gurkha father, Prem Bahadur Gurung, and mother, Jogan Suba Gurung, for giving her and her siblings a sound educational foundation. And her school headteacher, Mrs Indira Yakthumba, for being a principled, strong and positive female role model who taught her early on that given the right opportunity, and with personal determination, every person has the potential to make a positive difference in society.
Cllr Marian Nestorov was appointed Deputy Mayor. Cllr Nestorov moved to Medway in 2012 and developed a courier business. He has two children with his wife Liubov Nestorova, who is Ukrainian. Their children attend a local primary school.
The Mayor of Medway is known as the First Citizen of Medway and has ceremonial titles of Constable of the Castle and Admiral of the River.
A large part of the Mayor’s time is spent promoting the image and importance of Medway in a regional and national context. The Mayor also chairs Full Council meetings.
There will be a multi-faith chaplaincy with representatives from different faiths speaking ahead of every Full Council meeting. On Wednesday, 24 May, David Quirke-Thornton, an ordained Buddhist Priest gave the opening blessing.
More information about the new Mayor of Medway, will be updated on our website