The event provided local residents a chance to learn about Vietnam’s history, culture and people through an exhibition of photos on the country’s UNESCO-recognised tangible and intangible cultural heritages and its traditional food.

In her remarks, Newhaven Mayor Lesly Boniface expressed her pride in the historic link between her town and late President Ho Chi Minh, who worked as a chef on a ferry connecting Newhaven and the French town of Dieppe after World War I.

The British mayor highly spoke of Ho Chi Minh’s patriotism, courage and wisdom that helped him find the way to liberate his people and country. The historic link will lay a strong basis for the relations between Newhaven and Vietnam to grow further in the future, she said.

She also took the occasion to thank Vietnam for donating face masks to Newhaven when the COVID-19 broke out in the UK last year.

Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Hoang Long, for his part, thanked the local government for supporting and coordinating with the Vietnamese Embassy in organising the event, saying the Vietnam-UK Strategic Partnership is flourishing thanks to relentless efforts of both sides over the past five decades with the government and people of Newhaven playing a significant part in these drives.

He recalled the time President Ho Chi Minh lived and worked in London from 1913 – 1917 and on the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry, which became a foundation for the relations between Vietnam and Newhaven, and the UK at large. It was in the UK that the Vietnamese leader first read the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels which became a source of inspiration for his revolutionary path.

In 2013, a stele was erected at the mouth of River Ouse to mark the 100th anniversary of Ho Chi Minh’s arrival in the UK and the 40th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties (1973-2013).