This year marks the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush generation, a group of immigrants who were invited to the UK from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1971 to help rebuild the country after World War II. This generation made significant contributions to British society, from working in essential services to fighting for Britain in wars, and their impact on British culture and society cannot be overstated.
As we celebrate Windrush Day in June, let us not forget the stories and experiences of this generation and commit ourselves to creating a more inclusive and just society for all.

I was born in Frankfield, Clarendon, Jamaica. In fact, I was registered as being born on the 7th November 1957 but my Mom insists I was born on the 8th! She says I was born with a single strand of grey hair which, according to folklore, is a lucky sign.

My parents decided to come to the UK, like many of their generation, to seek better opportunities for themselves and their families. They left me to be looked after by my Mom’s relatives and they came to England to earn enough money to send for me and my sister later. We didn’t arrive on HMS Windrush but by plane some two years later.

To this day I still remember the shock of arriving in the middle of winter in a strange country and, because of the time we spent apart, to come and live with strange people – who I was told were my parents. Back then my only reference point of familiarity was the Jamaican foods that my mother cooked, which were a reminder of home.

Although I had lived in this country since I was five, technically I was a foreigner because the British and Commonwealth passport that I arrived on was no longer valid. The only way I was able to claim permanent status was to go through the long and laborious process of becoming naturalised. I did so in my late 20s. If I hadn’t, I could have ended up in the same position as some of my contemporaries who came to this country at the same time as me and were threatened with deportation.

I have now lived in this wonderful country for over 60 years. While my parents too a huge, entrepreneurial step towards making a better better life for their family, I too have been able to make a good life for my family by creating and taking many of the opportunities presented to me along the way.