Three Cheers to our Windrush Pioneers’

First published on: 22nd June 2023

The Bishop of Dover, The Rt Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin is encouraging the nation to reconsider our perception of the Windrush Generation, reframing them as the Windrush Pioneers.

Bishop Rose preached at a service for young people and attended by His Majesty The King on Thursday 22 June in St George’s Chapel, Windsor. The service is one of a series of events to recognise and celebrate the Windrush 75th Anniversary.

The congregation in St George’s Chapel was made up of 300 young people from schools across England including pupils from The Archbishop’s School, Canterbury.

Bishop Rose said:

‘The 22 June has been set aside for the 75th anniversary celebration. There will be services and a variety of events happening across the country. I will be preaching at a service in St George’s Windsor on this day.

‘My suggestion to the nation is that we don’t just think of the Windrush Generation and think of all the negative things that have happened to that generation and their descendants. I want to change the script. And I want us to think about Windrush pioneers. Pioneers because that’s exactly what they were and who they were. A people who left their ‘comfortable’ warm climates and came to the UK with a mission. They came to help with the rebuilding of Great Britain after the war. In fact, they were invited to come and take part in that.

‘We were not just part of the Commonwealth, we were British Citizens and from the days a legacy of empire. So, we felt very attuned to Britain as mother country and coming to serve mother country. Their resilience, their commitment, all that they offered to this country is second to none and we have the results of that in the national health service, the transport system, we have it in arts and sports. You name it, we are there! We are here because they first came. So we celebrate with them and yes we acknowledge that there have been challenges but in the words of that amazing civil rights song, “we shall overcome.” We hope. We live in that hope that we will all together build a country that is diverse, welcoming and all embracing of everyone’s gifts.

‘So three cheers to our Windrush pioneers!’

Bishop Rose was also key in the Windrush Portraits Project. His Majesty, as Prince of Wales, commissioned the Windrush portraits in 2022, acknowledging the tremendous impact of the Windrush Generation on the United Kingdom. The sitters were selected by the Windrush Portraits Committee, appointed by His Majesty and chaired by Baroness Floella Benjamin, OM DBE, along with Paulette Simpson, CBE, Bishop Rose Hudson-Wilkin, MBE and Rudolph Walker CBE. The portraits were undertaken by Black artists personally selected by His Majesty.

On Wednesday 14 June, Their Majesties The King and Queen hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace, to celebrate the Windrush Generation, and mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush. The King and Queen unveiled ten portraits of Windrush elders, newly commissioned by His Majesty, in the presence of the sitters, their families, and the artists.

Page last updated: Thursday 22nd June 2023 2:15 PM
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