Reita Faria Powell, the first Indian to wear the Miss World crown in 1966, was among several Goan origin individuals felicitated during the UK Goan Festival, which is a major event in the annual cultural calendar that attracted nearly 9,000 visitors this year.
Reita Faria Powell, who is a qualified medical practitioner, is married to Dr Colin Powell.
Wearing her Goan heritage proudly, she is seen as a role model for the community that is spread across the UK and elsewhere.
First organised by the Goan Association in 1985, the festival over the last weekend also felicitated senior Labour leader Keith Vaz, of Goa origin, who recently completed 25 years as a member of parliament.
The event was attended by other MPs such as Virendra Sharma and John McDonnell.
One of the highlights of the event was choreography by Longinus Fernandes, who choreographed the ‘Jai Ho’ song in ‘Sumdog Millionaire’.
Fernandes, who was felicitated during the event, trained a troupe for performance during the festival.
This year, the event attracted visitors from all over the UK as well as from Australia, Canada and the Middle East.
Several people travelled in six coaches from the south-west town of Swindon, which has a large minority of Goa origin.
The UK Goan community has recently secured funding from the UK Heritage Lottery Fund for a project to record the oral histories of British Goans who arrived in this country from East Africa.
A video presentation on the project was made during the festival.
Festival events included an open air mass partly conducted in Konkani by a visiting priest from Goa and two local priests; several cultural performances, and Goan food.
In the past, the festival has provided a forum for organisations such as the Save Goa Campaign and other charitable organisations with a focus on Goa.
Courtesy : TOI