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'Boat People' pay tribute to villagers

Published Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Lam Tran (left) and Trung Le with South Lanarkshire Provost Ian McAllan (right) at the  unveiling of the memorial plaque in Carnwath

A group of former refugees who built new lives here after fleeing a war zone have put up a permanent tribute to local villagers.

To mark United Nations World Refugee Day (Wednesday 20 June) plaque has been unveiled in Carnwath to thank all those who welcomed the Vietnamese people into the heart of their new community.

In the 70s and early 80s an estimated two million people fled Vietnam seeking refuge in the aftermath of war. Collectively they became known internationally as the Boat People.

Some were resettled in Scotland and were initially accommodated at the former Kersewell College on the edge of Carnwath, where locals, moved by their plight, launched a welcome campaign opening their hearts and homes to their new neighbours.

And now, in a gesture of gratitude and friendship a memorial plaque, funded by the Vietnamese community has been unveiled at Carnwath Golf Club.

Provost of South Lanarkshire Ian McAllan said: “It was an honour to unveil the plaque and a deeply moving experience. The Carnwath welcome is a touching story of hope, community and friendship. It reveals the best of humanity and the strength of bonds created by kindness.”

Trung Le, speaking on behalf of the Vietnamese group, said: “We have never forgotten the warmth of welcome we were given by the people of Carnwath. Their friendship gave us hope and helped our Vietnamese community build a new life here.“