Some of the many North and South Koreans who now live in Kingston have graduated from the U.K's first resettlement programme.

Traditional North Korean singers who escaped the tyrannical regime played songs in the Guildhall at the graduation ceremony on Monday evening.

The course brings together the two very different cultures and teaches students the English language and British customs.

All of the students are new to the UK.

Bona Shin from New Malden's Korean Information Centre set up the course.

She said: "This is the first course of its kind in the UK and the first time we have run it.

"We have seven graduates and I could not be prouder of them.

"I hope to have even more next time as the Korean community learn about the course.

"It was obviously really hard work but completely worth it."

The Cambridge Road based centre was set up two years ago to help the growing Korean community in New Malden.

The town boast a population of some 20,000 South Koreans and 600 North Koreans.

Miss Shin added: "We don't care where you come from, what you believe in or what politics you have. We are here to help the community and embrace it."

British veterans from the Korean war also attended the ceremony and graduation certificates were handed out by Kingston mayor Geoff Austin.

John Eason, from the British Korean Veterans Association, said he was proud to see the graduates in the Guildhall.

He said: "More than 60 years ago I made my first visit to Korea as part of the British Army going to help the Koreans at that awful time.

"I won't dwell on how terrible it was but we did get a good result and Koreans have appreciated our help so much.

"Since that time most of us have been back to visit and we cannot believe how much the country has changed.

"It is a wonderful place and this is through the sheer hard work of the Korean people."