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Windrush Day - Honouring the Achievements and Legacy of the Windrush Generation

June 22, 2020 12:08 PM

Cllr Patrick SolomonToday, June 22nd is Windrush Day, which celebrates the contribution of the Windrush Generation who came to the United Kingdom from the Caribbean in the postwar period.

In a video posted on his Facebook page here, Mayor Dave Hodgson has wished everyone, especially members of the Windrush generation and their descendants, a happy Windrush Day.

Mayor Dave also comments that he was extremely proud when his Bedford Borough Liberal Democrat colleague Cllr Patrick Solomon, whose own parents were members of the Windrush generation, won unanimous support for his Windrush motion at a Full Council meeting in February.

Commenting today, Cllr Solomon (Kingsbrook Ward) said : "This is a special day, in particular for the many Bedford Borough residents of the Windrush generation and their families. And not only for them, but for our local history too. The story of the many people of the Caribbean who answered the call for people to come to this country to help rebuild it after the Second World War is very much part of Bedford's story.'

"While we obviously cannot celebrate Windrush Day with public events this year, we look forward to coming together to mark the occasion in Bedford in 2021. In the meantime, I would encourage people to read and to listen to the fascinating stories of those who came over and to learn more about the enormous contribution and the legacy of the Windrush generation. We all owe them a debt of thanks, and Windrush Day is a chance to say thank you and to celebrate that legacy."

As well as pledging to mark Windrush Day Cllr Solomon's Full Council motion, on which he worked with local campaign group Legacy of Windrush Descendants (LOWD), also pledged solidarity and support for those affected by the Windrush Scandal. This saw the UK government wrongly detain and seek to deport many members of the Windrush generation.

Commenting on the scandal and the fact that promises made by the government over compensation have not yet been honoured, Cllr Solomon added: "The government betrayed members of the Windrush generation, and is now failing to provide the compensation and support it has promised. We need to continue to speak up for those who were so sorely betrayed."

Cllr Solomon appeared on a special Windrush programme on In2Beats Bedford 106.5FM yesterday, during which he presented a special award local DJ (soundman) Lucky Harry. The award was given in recognition of Lucky Harry's service to the community as a soundman from 1967 to the present day at family occasions across several generations.

June 22nd is the anniversary of one of the first large groups of postwar immigrants arriving in the United Kingdom from the Caribbean on board the Empire Windrush in 1948. The Government gave official designation to the national Windrush Day in 2018 following the Windrush Scandal and efforts by campaigners to win official recognition of the legacy and contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants.

To mark Windrush Day The Higgins Bedford has placed photos from its previous 'Paved with Gold': Bedford's Windrush exhibition online. You can enjoy them and and the stories of some of the members of the Windrush generation who settled here in Bedford at https://padlet.com/thehiggins/bedfordswindrushgeneration