Actress Joanna Lumley has worked in the industry for almost 50 years but is most well-known for her role as the chain-smoking Patsy Stone in one of the BBC’s legendary comedies, Absolutely Fabulous.
Born in India, Lumley has made her name as a human rights activist in recent years, with several campaigns, in particular, close to her heart. Here are just a couple of the issues she’s involved with:
The Gurkha Justice Campaign
The Gurkhas are ethnic Nepalis, living in India, recruited into the British army. For years, despite fighting in Britain’s wars, the Gurkhas had little political recognition in the UK; they didn’t even have a right to settle in the country they were serving. In 2008, Lumley, whose father had served in a Gurkha regiment, took up their cause, starting a petition and placing pressure on the then-Labour government to make changes to its policy. Eventually, Lumley and the campaigners won, with the government announcing that all Gurkhas who had served in the British Army for four or more years before 1997 would be allowed to reside in the UK. Lumley has been a Vice President Patron of The Gurkha Welfare Trust since 2009.
As well as her political campaigning, Lumley is also known to have an active interest in environmental affairs. She is currently the patron of Tree Aid, a charity which strives for an environmentally-friendly solution to the problem of poverty in Africa. In June 2016, she became a patron of Population Matters, an organisation which sees a stable human population size as integral to tackling environmental issues.
Trust in Children
Lumley is also involved in the Trust in Children charity, which aims to further social mobility by giving children from non-privileged backgrounds access to education and extra-curricular development, stating her belief that education is priceless.