When news of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake, that shook Nepal on April 25th, reverberated around the world, the reports were even more distressing for the Gurung family from the quiet village of Kenmore, near Aberfeldy in Perthshire. Sanu and Anna Gurung had moved from Nepal to raise a family and to enable Sanu to work in the rafting and outdoor adventure business. Although Anna’s family live in Aberdeenshire, the couple settled on Perthshire. “The rivers, mountains and terrain make Perthshire very much like the areas of Nepal that Sanu worked and grew up in. We knew we would feel at home here”. Anna explained.

They first met in 1993, when Anna travelled to Nepal. Although she had to return to the UK, the following year she made the arduous trip across the border from Bangladesh – where she had been working as a volunteer. A chance meeting brought them together again, they fell in love and married in 2000. Although they had always hoped to raise a family in Nepal, the political unrest in the country, which followed the 2001 massacre of King Birendra and nine members of the Royal family at the Narayanhity Royal Palace in Kathmandu, persuaded Sanu and Anna to uproot and settle in the tranquillity of Highland Perthshire.

With their three children, Sanu (39) and Anna (43) had visited Nepal as recently as October last year. Their family and friends still fresh in their minds, the news of the largest earthquake for 80 years, meant an anxious and nerve racking wait, as they desperately tried to contact their family in the Darachok district of Nepal. With phone lines down and power supplies sporadic, it was a fretful 72 hours spent trying to contact their loved ones. “Eventually”, Anna said, “we confirmed that Sanu’s parents had survived but their house was unsafe and they were having to live in tents”. Further calls helped them discover that although Sanu’s Aunt had witnessed her house reduced to rubble, she had escaped unscathed. His sister, who lived in Kathmandu had also been lucky. They were able to breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Although their own family had been comparatively lucky, the couple’s deep affection for the country and it’s people meant they felt the need to try and help, in any way they could. Anna, together with one of her close friends Liz Holmes, immediately hit on the idea of a parachute jump, to raise funds for Mercy Corps relief efforts in Nepal.

In addition to the Jump Anna also organised a fundraising dinner at the Molteno Hall in Fortingall.

“Nepal is a beautiful country”, said Anna, “the very first thing everyone notices, when they visit, is everyone’s amazing smile. We want to do whatever we can to help bring that back. The monsoon season is coming, communications are difficult and there are problems with the drinking water. We decided we had to act now”

Anna worked tirelessly, finding a location, expert help and seeking out big hearted donations to help make the evening a huge successful.

The dinner – under the banner Bring Back The Smile To Nepal – was held on Saturday 16th May.

120 guests enjoyed a meal, music, fundraising auction and entertainment and raised over £8,000, towards disaster relief in Nepal.

Anna made an emotional speech, to open proceeding, as she thanked the team of volunteers, that had kindly given their time to help make the night a success. She also paid tribute to the generosity of all the local individuals and businesses, small and large, who had gifted prizes and donations towards the fundraising effort.

“It’s amazing how quickly Anna and Sanu have organised this event,” said Mark Bridgeman ( part of Team Anna ), “ only her astonishing drive and determination, during the last few weeks, have made this possible. A huge thank you also to everyone that helped tonight, Anna and Sanu will never forget your generosity.”

Following the successful dinner, Anna moved swiftly on to her next fundraising exploit. On Sunday May 24th, Anna – together with her friend Liz Holmes – took to the skies to raise yet more funds for Nepal. The intrepid pair completed their skydive from 10,000 feet, above Errol Airfield, near Perth. Despite winds strengthening to near the advisable limit the brave pair jumped, in tandem, with their instructors from the Paragon Skydiving Club. After a period of nerve racking free falling ( as they accelerated to 120mph ) their chutes opened and the pair floated safely down, to cheers from their family and friends.

The Skydive, together with the fundraising dinner, has seen Anna raise over £11,500 for Nepal, in just over a week! However Anna does not intend to rest on her laurels and will continue to fund raise in the coming weeks and months.

Anyone who would like to donate, or keep up to date with Anna’s campaign can follow her progress @ facebook/Bring Back The Smile To Nepal.