The six-strong delegation – who all paid for themselves – were invited for a week-long visit by the Mayor of Pokhara, Dhana Raj Acharya. It is the first official delegation from Barnet to visit its ‘twin’.

The delegation were: Cllr Caroline Stock (on behalf of Barnet’s Mayor), Cllr Lachhya Gurung, Cllr Kamal Gurung, Cllr Ammar Naqvi (then Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, Arts and Sports and representing the Leader of the Council), Cllr Arjun Mittra and Dr Richard Stock.

The visit was originally proposed by Cllr Lachhya Gurung when he was Deputy Mayor. Both his and Cllr Kamal Gurung’s families originate from Pokhara.

Cllr Caroline Stock, Mayor of Barnet at the time of the twinning agreement, said: “Twinning seeks to foster cultural exchange and understanding between our different communities. The bond between our towns is hopefully more than symbolic and the fact so many of us are here today from Barnet is evidence of our wish to develop collaborative projects and initiatives where we try and tackle common challenges from sustainable development and environmental conservation to developing relationships with both our younger and older citizens.”

Both sides discussed education, health, tourism, Pokhara marathon and explored opportunities that benefit both of our areas. Cllr Ammar Naqvi said: “We look forward to further promoting collaboration between our two cities and working closely for the benefit of our citizens.”

During their stay in Pokhara, the Barnet delegation visited museums and historical venues such as the World Peace Pagoda and British Army Gurkha Camp, as well as environmental landmarks, charities and public services such as schools and hospitals. The Barnet and Pokhara Metropolitan City entered into a twinning city agreement in May 2021. Sadly, there was a tragic air crash in Pokhara on 15 January 2023 killing all 72 people on board. The then Mayor of Barnet, Cllr Alison Moore, sent a message to her counterpart in Pokhara expressing her condolences. As a mark of respect, the borough flag flying outside of Hendon Town Hall flew at half-mast.

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