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Jamaicans in the UK celebrate Independence in fine style

PICTURED: Association of Jamaicans UK Trust Chairman Donald Douglas (left), Former Mayor of Croydon Patricia Hay-Justice, Jamaica’s High Commissioner Mr Seth George Ramocan, Mrs Lola Ramocan, Deputy HC Mrs Angela

JAMAICANS IN the United Kingdom marked the island’s 57th Independence Day (Aug 6) with dinner and dance events, street parties and a family fun day in the park last weekend.

While Jamaica’s Independence Day is August 6, the celebrations got underway when the Association of Jamaicans UK Trust hosted its annual Charity Gala Dinner and Dance at the Copthorne Tara Hotel in London on Saturday (Aug 3). Special guest was Jamaica’s High Commissioner Mr Seth George Ramocan who gave the keynote address.

Mr Ramocan praised the group for being the oldest Jamaican organisation in the UK, having been formed in 1962, the same year as Independence.

He also highlighted the Association’s role in raising J$5 million for the Ministry of Education Adopt-A-Clinic programme during a joint fundraiser in 2017.

Also on Saturday, the forecourt at the Brixton Village was transformed into a Jamaican street party as the popular shopping precinct hosted Independence celebration with food, drink and music. The reigning Miss Jamaica UK, Natasha Ashman and Eastenders actress Angela Wynter were on hand to cut the independence cake, while DJ Elaine provided the music.

On Sunday (Aug 4), attention turned to the Crystal Palace Park for the annual family fun day staged by the Jamaica Basic Schools Foundation where thousands of children and adults enjoyed the varied entertainment and many food outlets as well as numerous art & craft stalls which were on display.

The crowd enjoy the atmosphere at the Jamaica Basic School Foundation Independence Family Fun Day in Crystal Palace Park, south London on Sunday, August 4

Over in Birmingham, Victoria Square, in the centre of the city was the venue or a three-day festival from Friday to Sunday which celebrated Jamaica’s Independence and all things Jamaican including, food, entertainment and products. Entitled Jamaica 0121 Festival, the centrepiece of the celebration was a Jamaican street market boasting a variety of stalls over the three days followed by Jamaica Unplugged, a free music concert on the final day.

Celebrations will climax on Sunday (Aug 11), with the Association of Jamaican Nationals Birmingham hosting a Service of Praise and Thanksgiving in honour of Jamaica’s 57th Independence anniversary at the New Testament Church of God, 240-244 Lozells Road, Birmingham B19 starting at 3.00 pm.

The guest speaker will be Pastor Jo-Ann Richards from Jamaica and specials guests will include representatives from the Jamaican High Commission, the Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands and the Lord Mayor of Birmingham. An entertainment package will include singing, dancing and poetry.

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