Windrush 75th Anniversary
The influence of this event upon all of our lives is far bigger and wide ranging than most people realise. The 22 June 2023 is the 75th anniversary of the ship HMT Empire Windrush arriving at Tilbury docks in 1948 with more than 800 passengers from the Caribbean. This group and other arrivals came at the invitation of the Government to help Britain to rebuild after the Second World War.
The contributions can easily be recognised in the rich diversity of life we enjoy today from food and poetry to music, fashion and the economy. This anniversary is only days before the 75th anniversary of the founding of the NHS and today a skilled immigrant work force continues to make a significant contribution to our healthcare as much as they did in the early days of the brand new National Health Service.
This history is much closer to home than you would imagine for us at Barca-Leeds and West Leeds residents alike because Alford Gardner, one of the original passengers on the Empire Windrush, lives in Bramley. After service in the RAF he returned to the Caribbean and then made the trip back to permanently settle in Leeds and his daughter, Paula Gardner, is the Barca-Leeds Operations Director for Complex Health and Housing. Alford is also the only Windrush passenger still living in Leeds.
Alford is a regular at the national Windrush celebrations representing the achievements of a generation. This included a reception hosted at the Palace, on 14 June where a special preview of 10 royal commissioned portraits took place.