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Devon County Council marks Windrush Day

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The vital role British African-Caribbean people  played in rebuilding a devastated post-war Britain, and the subsequent challenges faced by their descendants, was celebrated and recognised this week as the Devon Windrush flag was raised at County Hall.

The flag was raised on Monday evening to mark ‘Windrush Day’ (Tuesday June 22), 73 years after the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury docks and its passengers began a new life in Britain.

The event was attended by members of the Celebrating Windrush in Devon group, Councillor John Hart, the Leader of Devon County Council (DCC) and the Chairman of DCC Jeff Trail BEM.

The Celebrating Windrush in Devon group is part of Devon Development Education,

From left: Leader of Devon County Council, Cllr John Hart, Anne Madray, Krish Madray, Chairman of DCC, Cllr Jeff Trail, Sue Errington, Dave Samuels and Faye Doris

based at the Global Centre in Exeter, who through education, home learning, cultural events and community activities is Devon’s focal point for those interested in exploring the links between our lives and those of people from around the world.

Councillor John Hart, the Leader of

Photo of Councillor John Hart
Councillor John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council

Devon County Council said: “I am pleased that Devon County Council is honouring  the half a million people who travelled to the UK after the Second World War to help Britain’s recovery.

“As subjects of what was then the British Empire, it was their right to be able to move to Britain, and Windrush Day is not just about recognising their contribution but to acknowledge that they suffered hardship and were not always welcomed with the open arms that they deserved.

“Britain has always been a place of migration and I believe that exposure to people from around the world improves our culture.”

Councillor Jeff Trail, BEM, Chairman of Devon County Council said: “People

Photo of Councillor Jeff Trail
Councillor Jeff Trail BEM

whose heritage is from countries such as Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and Jamaica were and still are vital part of British life and in 1948 they were essential in supporting services including the NHS.

“The NHS appealed directly to West Indian women to come to Britain to train as nurses and midwives while British Rail and London Transport recruited almost exclusively from Jamaica and Barbados.

“I believe that one of Britain’s strengths is tolerance, diversity and our ability to look at how other people do things and learn from it.”

Retired midwife and Devon Windrush group member Faye Doris said: “I have been involved in Devon Development Education and the Legacies of Windrush Group for the last two years and I have found the work and events inspirational and educational.  It has made me look at my personal history as a nurse, learn about Windrush, its impact and the contributions of the Windrush generation.”

Another member of the group said: “I was inspired to keep working to promote diversity and tackle discrimination and prejudice against difference. It was made so clear how it was not very long ago that direct racism took place, and now although there is more to protect people from this racism, the non-overt prejudice and discrimination is still very much here.

“Education is key in raising awareness and bringing about change. Devon Development Education can definitely make this happen.”