Concerns for Sprole Buddist Monk in Nepal

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A former Sporle man who is living in Nepal as a Buddhist monk, is among the Britons unaccounted for since Saturday’s earthquake.

Martin Gattuso, 38, was seen in Kathmundu on Monday last week when he told a friend he would be walking to the Chinese border.

His father Michael, who lives in Norfolk, is waiting for news from Nepal.

Speaking to Radio Norfolk on Wednesday, Mr Gattuso said: “We heard from him several weeks ago. We Skype regularly when we can.

“The last news I have received was that he was seen on April 20. He told his friend he was heading towards the Chinese border which is west of the epicentre, which gives us a bit of hope.

“He is an itinerant Buddhist monk, we don’t know where he is from moment to moment.

“It is difficult in normal times to communicate.

“Sometimes he will walk four hours from wherever he is in Nepal to go to Kathmundu to find a cyber cafe. We Skype fairly frequently. At the moment he is on retreat and withdraws from the world.”

The family have placed him on the Red Cross list of missing people.

After leaving Sporle, Martin graduated from a London ballet school and travelled to South Africa.

He later gained a degree at Durham and speaks fluent Japanese.

Martin, who developed an interest in Buddism, went onto travel to Japan and India before moving to Nepal.

Downham Rotary Club is helping to support the relief effort in Nepal.

The group has already funded a Shelterbox, which costs £580.

A ShelterBox typically includes a disaster relief tent for a family, thermal blankets and groundsheets, water storage and purification equipment, solar lamps, cooking utensils, a basic tool kit, mosquito nets and children’s activity pack.

Members of Downham Rotary Club are also urging people to support an online giving page. The group may also be holding other fundraising efforts.

Club member Howard Phillips is appealing to people to support the fundraising.

He said: “There is a desperate need for shelter and water treatment.

“There is a Rotary Club in Nepal. Unfortunately some of the members were at a meeting when the hotel collapsed around them.

“We have not heard any news from them.”

The international Rotary Club has already organised for 400 water survival boxes to be distributed along with 180 Aquaboxes and 20 community filters.

If you would like to support the Rotary’s fundraising efforts for Nepal go to: https://mydonate.bt.com/events/rotarynepal/224458