New Malden to host celebration of Tamil culture with parade this Saturday

By Ellie Brown - Local Democracy Reporter

19th Jan 2022 | Local News

A PARADE, dancing and a Tamil heritage exhibit are some of the celebrations due to take place in New Malden this Saturday (22 January).

The event, part of Tamil heritage month in London, will also mark Kingston's twinning with the Sri Lankan city Jaffna in 2016 with a new plaque near the border with Merton.

It will celebrate the 12,000 Tamils living in Kingston borough, where Tamil is the second most-spoken language.

The parade is due to start at 11am and will go through New Malden high street.

There will then be cultural performances and festivities in St George's Square and the Methodist Church.

Both of Kingston's MPs and the Mayor of Kingston will be at the event.

A fundraiser for the celebrations this Saturday was set up and has so far raised over £1,500 in donations.

Comments on the fundraising page have been supportive of the twinning but also urge Kingston Council to play an active role in Jaffna's community.

One post reads: "I am glad to see the inauguration of 'Kingston Council twinned with Jaffna' signpost in the Tamil Heritage Month of January.

"Hope the council will initiate more productive contributions to people in Jaffna."

Another states: "Real success of this event will be measured by subsequent measurable social benefit to both City of Jaffna and Kingston Upon Thames - the original intention of the twinning programme - feeling positive that this event prompt that to happen."

News of the celebrations comes after New Malden high street was awarded £120,000 by the Mayor of London, partly to put on community events to celebrate the area's diversity.

The town in Kingston borough has significant Tamil and Sri Lankan communities and the largest population of Koreans in Europe.

Kingston Council's Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Champion, Councillor Thay Thayalan, said: "We are proud of our borough's rich diversity and culture.

"The Tamil heritage event is a chance to celebrate one of our largest communities, and residents who come along can look forward to a warm welcome and a joyous afternoon.

"It is also an honour for Kingston to be twinned with Jaffna, in northern Sri Lanka, and it is a strong statement of our pride in the contributions of our Tamil community."

Kingston borough is also home to the Tamil Journal, Tamil Information Centre, two Tamil schools and the British Tamil Cricket League.

A video celebrating Tamil culture made by the Council for Kingston heritage fest is available to watch on YouTube HERE

You can find the event fundraiser at wonderful.org/fundraisers/338

     

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