His Eminence Lama Chime Rinpoche(3) blessed the office with the offering of a khatag, a traditional Tibetan scarf, to the Dalai Lama, which was placed under a portrait of the Tibetan Buddhist leader. ?A specially prepared butter lamp was then lit by Tibet Society and Tibet Relief Fund's Chairman, Riki Hyde-Chambers.? This unique event was attended by 60 invited guests including Chonpel Tsering, the newly appointed Dalai Lama's Representative for the UK and Northern Europe, and Fabian Hamilton MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet.
In his address, Chime Rinpoche said he was honoured to inaugurate the new office because he admired the work of both Tibet Society and Tibet Relief Fund and reminded everyone present that Tibet Society was the world's first Tibet support group having been established in 1959 shortly after the Dalai Lama escaped from Tibet. He added he had known the Tibet Society since he first arrived in London in the early '60s, as he had Riki Hyde-Chambers, who he personally thanked for never giving up on Tibet.
Philippa Carrick, CEO of both Tibet Society and Tibet Relief Fund, said, "We were hugely privileged to have Chime Rinpoche inaugurate our new office. I hope it will augur propitious and positive times in our vital work for Tibet."
Chime Rinpoche was one of the first Tibetan lamas to come to the UK. Arriving in the early 1960s, Chime soon became actively involved with Tibet Society, which at that time was based in the basement of the Buddhist Society in Eccleston Square. Through the '60s, Chime travelled the length and breadth of the UK representing Tibet Society in "Operation Exile", a series of annual six-week tours that, through talks, film screenings, exhibitions and sales of merchandise, raised awareness and garnered support for Tibet.
In 1966, Chime and Riki were invited to attend a commemoration for the 10th anniversary for the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. This sparked the idea of holding a similar commemoration event for the 1959 Tibetan National Uprising. The following year (1967), the first commemoration was held in Pimlico and has been commemorated in London annually since.
Chime went on to serve on Tibet Society's Council and maintain a close connection both with both the Society and Tibet Relief Fund of which he was recently made an Honorary Vice President.