Photographer: Tessa Bunney
I wanted to meet and photograph someone from Vietnam as I had recently returned from a year living in Hanoi. Mr Thanh Khanh Vu arrived in the UK on 3rd October 1979 as a 'Vietnamese boat person'.
It was a privilege to meet him and hear the remarkable story of his journey to the UK and the forming of the An Viet Foundation which he set up to assist the Vietnamese community with housing, welfare benefits, schooling and other basic needs.
His achievements on behalf of the Vietnamese community are many and resulted in him receiving an MBE in 2006. I took Thanh's portrait in Hackney, his home and that of the An Viet Foundation. As we walked the streets, it was fascinating to hear about the changes in the borough and the part Thanh had played personally in these transformations.
Afterward he invited me to have lunch in the Foundation restaurant – my first Vietnamese meal since returning from Hanoi. We had bun cha – my favourite. I closed my eyes and the sounds and smells coming from the Vietnamese kitchen took me right back to the streets of Hanoi.
by Tessa Bunney, photographer - www.tessabunney.co.uk