Sundeep Bhutoria

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Remembering Ambika at the London Zoo

In front of Ambika Paul fountain at the London Zoo

30 June, 2014, London: I landed back in London on the night of 28 July around 10:30 GMT at Gatwick Airport. Instead of taking a car to the St James Court Hotel, I opted for the Gatwick Express railcar to Victoria.
It was a wise move and took just 20 minutes to reach Victoria. It had taken us nearly two hours by cab from the hotel to reach Gatwick airport on 24 July and we came close to missing our flight to Greece.
Yesterday I went to the ZSL London Zoo at Regent's Park to a party “Remembering Ambika”. I was invited by The Hon'ble Lord Swraj Paul and Lady Paul of Marylebone.
The party was at the Ambika Paul Children's Zoo in memory of their daughter Ambika who died of leukaemia in 1968 at the age of four. It was for the treatment of Ambika that brought Lord Paul to Britain in 1966. Lord Paul set up a charitable foundation Ambika Paul Foundation in 1968 her memory.
The Foundation promotes the well-being of children around the world through education, culture and health and seeks to encourage and inspire them to learn about the world they live in. The Foundation supports a number of children's charities in UK as well as the Zoological Society of London.
With Lord Swraj Paul
Whilst receiving treatment in England, London Zoo became Ambika's favourite destination and in 1994, when the Zoo was under threat of closure, Lord Paul gave 1 million pounds to the Zoological Society of London which used that donation for rebuilding the Children's Zoo in her name.
I have known Lord and Lady Paul for quite sometime and each time I meet them I am overwhelmed by their warmth and graciousness and amazed by their indomitable spirit and hospitality.
Wih Vijay Amritraj at the Wimbledon party
Lord Paul introduced me to artist Christie Brown who made beautiful ceramic models for an Ceramic Dolls Exhibition in memory of Ambika.
After the afternoon party at the London zoo, I went to the annual Wimbledon Summer Party at St James Court Hotel's courtyard with Indian tennis legend Vijay Amritraj. 
I also met Digvijay Singh, General Manager of St James Court.
In the evening I went to a kathi roll shop in the Mayfair area. During my recent New York visit I had been to kathi roll shops opened by a group of enterprising Bangladeshis. The same group had set shop here in London.
ess bee

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