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Windrush generation to be celebrated at Barking & Dagenham

PICTURED: The HMT Empire Windrush

THE CONTRIBUTION of the Windrush Generation will be marked at an upcoming events at Barking Town Hall.

Barking and Dagenham borough will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the HMT Empire Windrush arriving on the shores of the UK, with a number of speakers and an interview with one of the living voyagers upon the Windrush ship.

The Mayor of Barking and Dagenham, Councillor Sanchia Alasia, will be hosting the celebratory evening on Thursday 26 July from 4.30pm and speakers including Jamaican High Commissioner Seth George Ramocan, and Councillor Rodwell will be in attendance.

Video clips of the migrants disembarking from the ship will be played as attendees arrive at the Mayor’s event, before a flag raising ceremony takes place at 4.45pm outside the Town Hall.

In addition, an interview with Lawrence Smithson will see him share a personal story of life on the HMT Empire Windrush, before Alicia Louise Brown from Steel Pan Nation discusses the history of steel pan music – the music that the Windrush generation brought with them to the UK.

Former Mayor of Barking and Dagenham, Milton McKenzie MBE, and Councillor Josie Channer will be speaking about the Windrush generation’s contribution to the Ford plant in Dagenham, before further speeches by Rita Chadha, Chair of the Barking and Dagenham Community Voluntary Sector, and Patrick Vernon OBE.

HOST: Councillor Josie Channer

Video messages by Margaret Hodge MP (Barking) and Jon Cruddas MP (Dagenham and Rainham), and a Windrush poetry reading by children from the Talent Pool Academy in Chadwell Health will bring proceedings to a close.

A reception will follow the ceremony until 8pm, which will include a Caribbean buffet and a steel pan music performance.

Speaking on the upcoming event, councillor Lynda Rice, Cabinet Member for Equalities and Diversity said: “The arrival of HMT Empire Windrush was an iconic moment in the history of the United Kingdom, signalling the start of the multicultural society that we enjoy in Britain today.

“The Windrush generation have brought so much to this country and this borough, so I am looking forward to an event that remembers their experiences and celebrates their contribution to Barking and Dagenham.”

The HMT Empire Windrush docked at the port of Tilbury on 22 June 1948, carrying 802 migrants from the Caribbean – marking what is often seen as the beginning of modern British multicultural society.

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