Hindu Centre opens doors to all for fifth anniversary

jpco-24-10-12 Navratri 2012 at Apple Tree Temple Centre (Pic by Jon Rigby) ENGSUS00120121022154644
jpco-24-10-12 Navratri 2012 at Apple Tree Temple Centre (Pic by Jon Rigby) ENGSUS00120121022154644

A Hindu centre has invited The Queen to visit for its fifth anniversary.

The Gurjar Hindu Union (GHU) has invited senior politicians and religious leaders to the Apple Tree Centre.

Ashwin Soni, 65, who oversaw the community centre and temple’s construction in Ifield Avenue, Ifield, in May 2010, said the Queen had been invited. He said: “We have lots of programmes planned for the fifth anniversary.

“We are keeping the whole year as our celebration year.

“They can come anytime which is free to them.”

Ashwin, a retired chemical engineer, of Maidenbower, said the GHU wanted to set up a Hindu-equivalent to Crawley’s Black History Month in May.

A three-day celebration of singing, hymns and recitals had been planned from May 23 to 25.

A dance and drama group will be created as part of the anniversary.

He invited townspeople to audition to join the group as a performer or general volunteer at the centre at 2pm on February 15.

The group will perform choreographed routines at the celebration and Crawley community events.

Ashwin, its main planner, said: “We want to follow the footsteps of Black History Month.

“We are now five years old and we wanted to do something different and new as part of our continuous improvement.”

The centre holds around 1,000 people and was filled at a meeting to protest Gatwick Airport expansion last November.

Ashwin, the centre’s strategic planner, said it hosted large events that have attracted hundreds of people around 30 times per year.

It has been used for weddings, parties and networking meetings.

Ashwin added townspeople were fond of the facility.

He said: “We hold Christmas lunches every year at our centre and we invite our neighbours and townspeople to come.

“We sing Christmas carols in all languages.

“When we asked for opinions you get absolutely positive feedback.”

The GHU has been raising funds to cover the costs of the centre’s construction and give to St Catherine’s Hospice.

Ashwin said young members at the centre organise an annual walk to fundraise for the charities.

Among those invited to audition for the dance group were professional African drummers, two Morris dancing groups and an Irish dancing group.

The dance group is to put on a showcase show at Crawley Mela. To join, email ashel@hotmail.co.uk