Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Prime minister pays tribute as Windrush celebrates 65th anniversary at port of Tilbury

THE PRIME minister, David Cameron, has paid tribute to the Windrush generation as part of the 65th anniversary of their arrival at Tilbury docks.

A number of events have been taking place at the port and although he could not attend, the prime minister paid this tribute.

Mr Cameron said: “The 65th anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush at Tilbury Dock on 22 June 1948 marks a truly historical moment for modern day Britain. Nearly 500 people arrived from the Caribbean that day to find work or a new life, and it led to the transformation of this country into the richly diverse nation it now is.

“The early arrivals from the Caribbean came to help rebuild our country after the Second World War. They brought with them the skills and resolve to help get Britain back on her feet and to make a better life for themselves and their families. But as history has shown many of them suffered unjust hardships and barriers – from social exclusion and prejudice to discrimination and racism.

“I pay tribute to the Windrush generation and praise their fortitude and determination in overcoming those difficult challenges. Younger generations are rightly very proud of those early pioneers, and while some social issues still need to be tackled, I strongly believe that our country today is an overwhelmingly fair and tolerant one. And this is in part down to the people from the Caribbean and around the world who settled here.

“Those early migrants did so much for our country, and paved the way for their children and subsequent generations to make enormous contributions to Britain in the 21st century. Whether this is in the field of public service, business, culture or the arts, the children of the Windrush generation have given so much.

“Whenever I meet people from Britain’s African-Caribbean community, I’m always struck by the stories I hear. Stories of guts, determination and sheer hard work. Our island is richer in every sense of the word for your contribution.”

Celebrities, councillors and local residents also gathered on Saturday at the Tilbury Cruise Terminal followed by a river cruise and awards ceremony.

On Sunday, a family fun day took place including tours of the Windrush exhibitions, music and educational workshops, a gospel choir and dance performances.

Mayor of Thurrock, Cllr Tony Fish said: “This is a very significant event in Thurrock’s history. The Windrush generation who marked the first wave of migration to the UK and their children have made an enormous contribution to culture, arts, business, politics and sports.”

Cllr Lynn Worrall said: “The arrival of the SS Windrush at Tilbury all those years ago was effectively the beginning of Britain’s modern multi-cultural society – something that has undoubtedly enriched our culture in so many ways.”

Cllr Tunde Ojetola highlighted the significance of the Windrush history. He said: “It shows how we have evolved since 1948; we have learned to live with each other, embrace our diverse nature and understand each other’s cultures. Thanks to all the organisers for making this event so memorable.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Why do politicians have to come up with this patronising drivel. As if they were any more deserving than the millions of working class British families in Britain that scarificed their children to the war. Their sacrifice was aknowledged, as was the sacrifices of the rest of the commonwealth countries by allowing thos who wanted to settle here to do so. Plus the fact that so many of our own had been killed we needed people to come here.

    Once again the them and us distinction is drawn and the liberal race relations industry can pat themselves on the back again.

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