The establishment of a new exchange organisation mean links between Swindon and Nepal have got even closer.

The Swindon-Madhyapur Thimi Friendship Group launched last Saturday with the aim of encouraging cultural, educational and social exchanges.

“A fostering of good relationships between our towns can only be beneficial for us all,” said chairman Dr Christine Tipper.

Organised by the Nepalese Association of Wiltshire and members of the group, aim is to send individuals and local school pupils from Swindon, to spend time in Madhyapur Thimi. Nepalese students will then come to Swindon host families in return.

“For me it is important to encourage links between Swindon and Nepal because I believe this is an excellent opportunity to form international friendships,” added Dr Tipper.

The idea grew out of previous work she has done in Nepal for the last eight years, particularly with one local school, Glory English School.

“When I was out there just over a year ago we started thinking about what we could do to take things further,” said Dr Tipper.

The afternoon at the Buckhurst Community Centre began with a presentation about her work, including sponsoring Bath University psychology students for placements and raising money for school supplies after the 2015 earthquake.

Traditional Nepalese dancing followed, performed by members of the Nepalese community in Swindon. A traditional English party song was performed by English members of the group in return. A rendition of Old MacDonald Has a Farm complete with flash cards for audience participation, was followed by Ten Green Bottles and the Hokey Cokey.

“I managed to get everyone dancing in a conga line. It was amazing fun,” said Dr Tipper.

About 150 people were there, including the Mayor and Mayoress. Traditional food from Nepal was provided by the association's older members. “I’m very thankful for the support of the Nepalese Association of Wiltshire and their senior citizens, as we couldn’t have done it without them,” said Dr Tipper.

Anyone interested in becoming involved can email Dr Tipper at She is happy to come into local schools to talk to students about becoming involved.

“Now we have the momentum.We’re hoping it won’t be too long before we organise our first exchange.”