A WEST Dorset villager has returned from Nepal after attending the opening of a new school building he funded.

Walditch resident David Hill funded the project in Katari in eastern Nepal. The 68-year-old and his family flew to Dharan for the opening - which was attended by several hundred schoolchildren, a host of parents, teachers, the school management committee and local dignitaries.

The building at Shree Devi Secondary School is dedicated to the memory of David's parents, Edward and Daphne Hill - and the 7th Gurkha Rifles.

"My father was a career soldier and served with the Gurkhas from 1939 to 1966" said David.

"Our entire family have an immense respect and lasting affection for the fine, courageous warriors of Nepal - who have chosen to serve and who continue to serve so loyally in the British Army.

"I wanted to do something to thank them and their families."

The school is close to the heartlands of the Rai and Limbu tribes, the principle tribes from which the 7th Gurkha Rifles were recruited from. The school development, a Gurkha Welfare Scheme project, was overseen by a Gurkha engineer, and was built to the highest standard - with the construction work carried out by members of the Nepalese community.

The new building is proving to be an example of how buildings should be constructed in an earthquake prone country. David hopes to open a second school within the next three years.

"There is an enormous need for this kind of support in Nepal and we are already well on the way to raising the money" explained David.

"It is very pleasing that quite modest funds produce such a significant gain for the local communities involved."

Anyone wishing to donate to the project can contact David on 01308 423144. Cheques can be made payable to The CAIRN Trust (Hill Fund) at Monmouth Court, Southampton Road, Ringwood, Hampshire, BH24 1HE.