‘Boat People’ pay tribute to a Lanarkshire village

Lam Tran (left) and Trung Le were young men when they arrived in Lanarkshire as refugees Lam is now retired after a long career in social work, Trung is a Business Consultant. Provost Of South Lanarkshire councillor Ian McAllan (right) unveiled the memorial plaque in Carnwath.
Lam Tran (left) and Trung Le were young men when they arrived in Lanarkshire as refugees Lam is now retired after a long career in social work, Trung is a Business Consultant. Provost Of South Lanarkshire councillor Ian McAllan (right) unveiled the memorial plaque in Carnwath.

A group of former refugees who built new lives in Scotland after fleeing a war zone have put up a permanent tribute to Lanarkshire villagers who welcomed them into the heart of their community.

In the 70s and early 80s an estimated two million people fled Vietnam seeking refuge in the aftermath of war, collectively they became known internationally as the Boat People.

Some were resettled in Scotland and were initially accommodated at the former Kersewell College on the edge of the small Lanarkshire village of Carnwath; where locals, moved by their plight, launched a welcome campaign opening their hearts and homes to their new neighbours.

Four decades on in a gesture of gratitude and friendship a memorial plaque, funded by the Vietnamese community has been unveiled at Carnwath Golf Club.

Provost of South Lanarkshire Ian McAllan said: “It was an honour to unveil the plaque and a deeply moving experience, the Carnwath welcome is a touching story of hope, community and friendship. It reveals the best of humanity and the strength of bonds created by kindness.”

Speaking on behalf of the Vietnamese group Trung Le: ““As a group we have never forgotten the warmth of welcome we were given by the people of Carnwath, their friendship gave us hope and helped the Vietnamese community build a new life here.”