1 OCTOBER 2008

British actress Joanna Lumley punched the air in delight on Tuesday after Gurkha soldiers won their court battle to stay in the UK. The visibly moved star was celebrating with hundreds of the Nepalese soldiers, their relatives and well-wishers outside London's High Court.

Stating Britain owed the veterans a "moral debt of honour" a judge overruled immigration conditions which had given them no automatic right to stay in the UK if they retired from the service before 1997.

Joanna became involved in their cause after revealing her father, Major James Rutherford Lumley, served with the 6th Gurkha Rifles during WWII. The Absolutely Fabulous actress wiped away tears as she congratulated VC winner 86-year-old Tul Bahadur Pun, who saved her dad's life when they fought side by side in Burma and whose photograph hung in her family’s home.

"My father would be so proud today," she said "I'm so proud of British justice and so proud of the Gurkhas. At last we can begin to put this great wrong right."

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The jubilant star joined hundreds of Gurkhas, their relatives and well-wishers outside London's High Court after a judge ruled the Nepalese veterans have the right to remain in the UK Photo: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
A visibly moved Joanna congratulates Victoria Cross holder Tul Bahadur Pun, who saved her father's life in Burma Photo: © PA

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