Thanks given to Blackpool after Tower all lit up for Windrush Day

Blackpool has been thanked after the Tower was all lit up for National Windrush Day.

By Richard Hunt
Friday, 24th June 2022, 9:56 am

The town’s famous landmark was lit in the Windrush Day colours of red, gold, green and blue to make the event on Wednesday (June 22), in a show of support by Blackpool Council.

And as the tower was lit up in the evening, there was a gathering on the Comedy Carpet of Fylde coast members of the Windrush generation and their relatives.

Windrush Day has been celebrated in the Caribbean community for years but National Windrush Day was introduced in the UK in June 2018 on the 70th anniversary of the Windrush migration.

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Celebrating Windrush Day in Blackpool, just before the Tower was lit up. Photo: CJ Griffiths Photography

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The day celebrates the arrival of African-Caribbean immigrants to the shores of Britain aboard the vessel MV Empire Windrush, on June 21 1948.

However, passengers disembarked a day later 22 June 1948, which is now the annual date for Windrush Day.

Around half a million people made their way to England after the Second World War.

Some of those celebrating National Windrush Day on Blackpool seafront

The day is a celebratory one, acknowledging the contribution the community has made to British life and culture, but it is also shadowed by the controversy of the Windrush Scandal of 2018, when the Home Office sought to deport people who had a legal right to stay, as part of a controversial UK Home Office hostile environment policy.

After more than 80 people were wrongly deported, the Home Office released the Windrush Lessons Learned Review in 2020.

Preston-born Glenda Andrew BEM, the co-founder of Preston Windrush Generation and Descendants UK, spoke at the event at Blackpool and later said: “It was wonderful for us to hold this event in Blackpool.

"Many cities and large town across the country have celebrated Windrush Day by hoisting up a flag, which is great, but Blackpool has gone one better by lighting up the tower!

Glenda Andrew BEM

"I have always loved Blackpool because my parents, who were part of the Windrush generation, always took us here when we were growing up in Preston.

"We’ve had great support from Blackpool Council in lighting up the tower and getting behind our celebrations.

"Windrush Day is bitter sweet – sweet because of the national celebration of our communities in Great Britain, but bitter because some of the injustices of the Windrush Scandal have not gone away.

"People who lost their jobs and their homes because they were wrongly targeted for deportation have still not received the compensation they were promised by the Government.”

Blackpool Tower lit up in the colours of red, green, gold and blue of National Windrush Day

Glenda and her fellow volunteers with Preston Windrush are still helping people who were affected by it.

Dawn Poleon, of Blackpool, who is a voluntary admin officer for Glenda and Preston Windrush Generation and Descendants UK, was also at the event.

She said: “This is an historic occasion for the Windrush Generation and their families as it has never been done before.

"Blackpool is showing its support to all African and Caribbean people across the country as well as those who are local.”

As the Tower lit up, the gathering on Blackpool seafront celebrated the occasion with music provided by DJ Respect from Manchester.

Among those attending the event were representatives of Blackpool Council.

Empire Windrush arrives at Tilbury Docks in London

For more information about the Windrush group visit: www.prestonwindrush.co.uk