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Windrush generation honoured on 70th anniversary

Guests leave the service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey
Guests leave the service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey
Guests leave the service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey
Winston Whyte, John Richards and Allan Wilmot
Theresa May

By Aine Fox

The people of the Windrush generation showed resilience as they helped rebuild post-war Britain, often in the face of adversity, a service to commemorate the 70th anniversary of their arrival has been told.

Prime Minister Theresa May, whose Government has been heavily criticised amid a scandal that has seen people who were invited here decades ago face deportation, was among those at the service in Westminster Abbey.

The Rev Canon Joel Edwards, addressing a congregation including members of the Windrush generation and their descendants, hailed the positive impact those who landed at Tilbury Docks on June 22, 1948, and their offspring have had in the worlds of politics, business, music and food.

But many of those who left sunnier climes in the Caribbean for a new life in Britain faced hardships including racism, Mr Edwards said, as he paid tribute to "Windrush resilience".

He said: "Settling down hasn't been plain sailing. The children of Windrush have experienced over-representation in Britain's prisons and mental health institutions. Knife crimes. Underachievement in education and the job market. Settlement has meant racism, sometimes too much policing and not enough protection. And Stephen Lawrence."

The murdered black teenager's mother Doreen, now Baroness Lawrence, was in attendance alongside Liberal Democrat peer and patron of the Windrush Foundation Baroness Floella Benjamin.

The service, also attended by Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, was peppered with short pieces of drama.

John Richards (92), who came to Britain on the Windrush aged 21, described the service as "great".

Asked if he found it emotional, he said: "It brings back memories, yes, but I'm too old for the emotion."

More than 2,000 people have been provided documentation since April, the Home Office said, helping them demonstrate their right to residence.

Belfast Telegraph


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