From Manchester to Reading and Folkestone, hundreds of people turned out for the Nepalese Association of Wiltshire football tournament.

Over 450 players and 300 spectators came to watch their teams in action on Saturday with a veteran’s category and a men’s category.

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The Nepalese Association of Wiltshire was founded in 2006 with 100 members.

Since then, the association has grown with over 3000 members at present.

Santa Pun, who is the founding president of the association said: “It’s growing bigger and bigger all the time.

“It’s a very good way to get together, not just for the Swindon Gurkha community. But for Gurkha’s all over the UK.”

The veterans’ category was open for individuals over the age of 39-year-old.

Bhawani Gurung, secretary of the Nepalese Association of Wiltshire revealed it had been a real challenge to get hold of match officials.

He said: “It was a challenge to get hold off, but fortunately because we had a connection with Swindon Town, we managed to get those officials.

“As well as those from the Wiltshire FA, they’ve been really helpful to us in terms of us giving advice.”

Mayor of Swindon Cllr Abdul Amin said he was delighted by the turnout and said it showed the togetherness of the Nepalese community.

He said: “I’ve seen so many people from different parts of the country, as far as I’m aware people came from Folkstone, Wales and Manchester, that is wonderful.

“It’s wonderful seeing those people in Swindon and that is a good way of keeping a connection with the community.

“There’s a massive community spirit and that is a wonderful thing about sporting events.

“For me it would take quite a while for me to organise coming from places such as Rochdale, that’s three- or four-hour journey and they’ve taken their time to come here for a game of football.

“A very big thank you to all the people who visited today.”

South Swindon MP Sir Robert Buckland who was also present at the event added: “I think events like this demonstrate the contribution that our Nepalese community makes to Swindon life, through their activities in the Buckhurst Community Centre.

“I’m a big supporter of the Nepalese Association of Wiltshire and I am always keen to come to their events.

“It’s a real pleasure and an honour to represent our community here in Swindon.”

Himalayan won the veteran's final 3-1, while the Brigade Boys defeated Reading Unity in the men's final. 

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