Leicester's new statue honours the sacrifice and bravery of Sikhs who fought in world wars

A statue of a Sikh soldier has been unveiled in Leicester to honour the sacrifice and bravery of Sikhs who fought during the First and Second World Wars.

The bronze sculpture has been placed in Victoria Park and had been years in the planning.

Hundreds of people from the Sikh community in the city gathered to see the bronze sculpture unveiled, including the man who helped create it.

Taranjit Singh, sculptor, said: "It's something that I brought my children here to see today and my grandchildren to see today.

"I'm really proud that we can celebrate this shared history that we have with British people. It's just amazing. I just feel over the moon."

Taranjit Singh, sculptor, said he was proud to celebrate this history Credit: ITV News Central

Although only 2% of the Indian population of British India at the time, Sikhs made up more than 20% of the British Indian Army during World War One.

Gurinder Singh Mann, Sikh Historian, said it was a contribution that should always be recognised for future generations.

He said: "To make sure that these statements are not just footnotes in history but actual facts that everybody can actually recite on a daily basis."

Before the unveiling local dignitaries and members of the current UK Armed forces gathered at De Montford Hall to recall the heroism and courage of those who travelled thousands of miles to fight for a country that wasn't their own.

Many of their descendants have since moved to live and work in Leicester. Including some who are now once again serving their country.

Hundreds turned out for the unveiling of the statue Credit: ITV News Central

One of the soldiers who was there as part of the unveiling said: "My Nana, he was in the Indian Army ad then my Great Nana he was in the British Indian Army.

"So he's fought in a world war. So my own blood has fought in World War One and World War Two. So my own blood is fought. These means an immense amount to me."

Another soldier said: "I think it's really important especially for the 3rd, 4th and 5th generations of Sikhism - they need to know has been done in the past.

"Especially the Sikhs in the past over the centuries they've sacrificed their lives. And the coming generation need to know that. And I feel really proud to be here."

For many this statue of commemoration is long overdue, but now at last there is place where generations of Sikhs to come will be able to visit and pay tribute to their forefathers.