On 19th May, the Embassy of Viet Nam and Newhaven Town Council co-hosted a celebration with Vietnamese cuisine, songs and dances to mark Ho Chi Minh’s link to the town. Ho Chi Minh, the founder of modern Viet Nam once worked as a pastry chef on the cross-channel ferry service between the French town of Dieppe and Newhaven following World War I.
The ceremony started with the handover of a bronze statue of President Ho to the Newhaven Museum. The gift was from the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Management Board and presented by the Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK, Vu Quang Minh. The foundation stone of a memorial was also laid in West Quay of Newhaven Harbour.
The celebration coincided with Ho Chi Minh’s 123rd Birthday and the 100 Anniversary of his arrival in the UK (1913-2013). Distinguish guests at the reception included the High Sheriff of East Sussex, MP Norman Baker and the President of Newhaven Chamber of Commerce Annie Lorys. The Viet Nam – UK Network was represented by the Honorary President Mr. Len Aldis, the Executive Chairman Mr. Ben Chapman and the Vice Chairman Mr. Warwick Morris, a former British Ambassador to Viet Nam. Speaking at the event, Len Aldis highlighted the life and work of Ho Chi Minh, who led the Vietnamese nationalist movement for more than three decades, fighting first against the Japanese, then the French colonial power and then the US-backed South Vietnamese. Ben Chapman emphasized the important of cultural and historical links between Viet Nam and the UK and the people to people contact in enhancing understanding and cooperation between the two countries.
Mayor of Newhaven Julie Carr said the story of President Ho Chi Minh once working in Newhaven was a significant part of the town’s history. “This lovely, enjoyable event marked the beginning of what we hope will be a long and fruitful friendship between Newhaven and Vietnam, resulting in exciting business, tourism, educational and cultural opportunities for the town” she said.