Joanna Lumley

Joanna Lumley is patron of the Tiplyang school project. Besides her fame as an actress, she is also well-known for her successful campaign for Gurkha soldiers who retired before 1997 to be granted the right to settle in Britain. Tul Bahadur Pun fought alongside Major James "Jimmy" Lumley, Joanna's father.


When Joanna heard that the Allmand family were raising money to rebuild the school in Tiplyang, she generously offered to share the cost of the rebuilding. The Allmand and Lumley families funded the building of a magnificent new school by the Gurkha Welfare Trust who worked to the very highest standards such that the building is earthquake proof in a region prone to earthquakes.


Joanna Lumley has been a long term supporter of The Gurkha Welfare Trust. While her recent campaign for greater immigration entitlements was not connected to our work, Miss Lumley has generously offered to lend her added support to the Trust and is now a Vice Patron.

Joanna made her debut on 1 May 1946, in Kashmir, India. Her overseas birth was due to her father, Major James Rutherford Lumley, being posted over with the Gurkhas.


Educated in Hong Kong, the family went on to settle in Kent where Joanna attended a convent school. With just one A-Level, she tried to break into modelling, doing screen tests to supplement her income (this was one of the boom periods of British cinema and London was awash with acting opportunities).


Her first credited role on TV was as a 'flirty patient' in the soap opera, 'General Hospital' but it was the North of England's favourite soap, 'Coronation Street' that gave her her first regular income from acting. One of her most dramatic moments was rejecting the marriage offer from her boyfriend, Ken Barlow.


In real life, her personal situation was far more interesting than her fictional counterpart. She had a child and refused to name the father (later revealed to be photographer Michael Claydon) and steadfastly refused to apologise for her single mum status at a time when polite society ostracised the unconventional.

In 1968, she went from 'flirty patient' on the small screen to 'The English Girl' on the big, joining the ever growing ranks of sexy girls to appear alongside Bond in 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'. After arousing middle England at the cinema, she did much the same on the small screen with her first iconic role as Purdey in 'The New Avengers', and like Jennifer Aniston, her haircut is as much remembered as her acting.


Her next role sent children scurrying behind the sofa with her creepy sci-fi show, 'Sapphire and Steel' between 1979 and 1982, which was a cult, if not commercial, hit.




















Alongside her screen personas, she has also appeared on stage many times, from Desdemona in 'Othello' in 1975 to Ranevskaya in 'The Cherry Orchard' in 2007. In between these many roles, she found time to marry conductor Stephen Barlow.




  • Lieutenant Tul Bahadur Pun, VC


Lieutenant Tul Bahadur Pun, who died on April 20 aged 88, won the Victoria....

  • Lt Tul Bahadur Pun VC: Rifleman decorated for his bravery in Burma


The Victoria Cross won by the young Rifleman Tul Bahadur Pun was awarded for his....

  • Final salute to the hero Gurkha who saved the life of .....


A Gurkha hero who won the Victoria Cross for saving dozens of lives including Joanna...





Hands Together - Tiplyang Project


Joanna Lumley (OBE), Patron of the Charity with Elizabeth Allmand and Anne Rose, co-founders of the project, and children at the opening of the new school in Tiplyang in April 2012.

A School in  Nepal - Tiplyang


Welcome to the Tiplyang Project website. The Tiplyang Project was set up to support Tiplyang village and the surrounding region of Myagdi in western Nepal.




The objectives of the foundation would be as follows:

  1. To educate the coming generations and to highlight Tulbahadur Pun’s outstanding valour in the face of enemy and his contribution to the society;

  2. To record the achievement of Tulbahadur Pun VC’s life, both militarily and civil, along with his outstanding contribution in establishing the Higher Secondary School in his village;

  3. A life size statue would be erected at the location of his birth place, to remember him for all time as a national hero and to glorify the history of those who fell fighting in World War II;


Gurkha Justice Campaign:

In 2008, Lumley became the public face of a campaign to provide all Nepalese origin Gurkha veterans who served in the British Army before 1997 the right to settle in Britain. Those serving after 1997 had already been granted permission, but the UK Government has not extended the offer to all of the Gurkhas, who are natives of Nepal. They have served Britain for more than 200 years with over 50,000 dying in service, and 13 have been awarded the Victoria Cross. On 20 November 2008, Lumley led a large all-party group including Gurkhas starting from Parliament Square to 10 Downing Street with a petition signed by 250,000 people. She supports the Gurkha Justice Campaign.

On 24 April 2009, she stated that she was "ashamed" of the UK administration's decision to affix five criteria to the Gurkhas' right to settle in the UK. With the support of both Opposition parties and Labour rebel MPs on 29 April 2009, a Liberal Democrat motion that all Gurkhas be offered an equal right of residence was passed, allowing Gurkhas who served before 1997 residence in the UK.Following the Government defeat, the Minister for Immigration Phil Woolas announced that a further review would be completed by the middle of July.


On 5 May 2009, Lumley said that she had received private assurances of support from a senior member of the Royal Family, and attended a meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street the following day. Afterwards, she described the meeting as "extremely positive", and praised Mr Brown, saying, "I trust him. I rely on him. And I know that he has now taken this matter into his own hands and so today is a very good day.

However, on the day following the meeting with Brown, five Gurkha veterans who had applied for residency in the United Kingdom received letters telling them that their appeals had been rejected – many saw this as a betrayal, despite the fact that for the letters to have been received the day after the meeting they might have been sent before it (and certainly after the 29 April Commons vote). Ms Lumley confronted Phil Woolas at the BBC Westminster studios about the issue and, after pursuing him around the studio, the pair held an impromptu press conference in which Woolas agreed to accept Gurkha Justice Campaign input in developing new guidelines by July while giving sympathetic treatment to Gurkhas not meeting the then current immigration guidelines before the development of new guidelines.

Following a Commons Home Affairs Committee meeting in which talks were held between campaigners, the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office on 19 May, Gordon Brown announced to the House of Commons on 20 May that the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith would make a statement on the issue the following day. Ms Smith subsequently announced that all Gurkha veterans who had served four years or more in the British Army before 1997 would be allowed to settle in Britain.


As a result of her campaigning skills, there were calls for Joanna Lumley to stand as a Member of Parliament at the forthcoming general election. However, she has dismissed the suggestion.During an appearance on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on 29 May, she reiterated that she had no desire to run for election to the House of Commons.

In July 2009, Lumley went on a visit to Nepal, upon her arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport she was greeted by crowds of Gurkha supporters, Lumley said in a statement, "I feel so humbled by the fact I'm going to meet so many ex-Gurkhas and their families, and see where they are and how they live."Whilst there, Lumley was hailed 'Daughter of Nepal' by the crowds of fans at the airport.




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This foundation is Registered in The Government Of Nepal Ministry Of Home Affair Distric Adiministration Office Pokhara Kaski, Nepal.

Registration No.2113/2065


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