I moved to the UK in 1967 to join my husband after our traditional Hindu marriage in Madras (now Chennai), India. I had never left India before, and my limited knowledge of Tyneside was from newspapers. We made Newcastle-upon-Tyne our home, as my husband was working for the City Council’s Central Area Motorway Study. I had been an Advocate in the Madras High Court but my legal qualifications were not recognised in England. Undeterred, I was one of the first Asian women to complete my professional exams from Newcastle Polytechnic (now Northumbria University), where I later worked and trained many junior lawyers. We lived on the west side of the City, and after a few years living away, we returned to Jesmond a decade ago. Despite being from an ethnic minority group,we have always felt welcome here and over the years have enjoyed the evolution of the City’s rich sense of community, cultural and ethnic diversity.
Jesmond Community Orchard
Listen to Vathsala's story here