All-day special radio broadcast to celebrate Windrush generation

PUBLISHED: 13:32 19 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:32 19 June 2020

Charles Challenger moved to the UK from Antigua and is now the chairman of Ipswich's Windrush Select Committee Picture: CHARLES CHALLENGER

Charles Challenger moved to the UK from Antigua and is now the chairman of Ipswich's Windrush Select Committee Picture: CHARLES CHALLENGER


The massive contribution members of the Windrush generation made to the Suffolk community is to be commemorated with an all-day special radio broadcast this weekend.

The cruise ship HMT Empire Windrush transported more than 1,000 people to the UK in 1948 and gave the generation its name Picture: PAThe cruise ship HMT Empire Windrush transported more than 1,000 people to the UK in 1948 and gave the generation its name Picture: PA

With the Covid-19 pandemic preventing social gatherings, the Ipswich Windrush Select Committee have organised a one-off show on Ipswich Community Radio throughout Sunday to celebrate their culture, stories and their impact on the county.

Starting at 8am and lasting until midnight, the broadcast will feature shows on a range of different topics - including comedy, cooking and music.

After the Second World War, many people from Caribbean countries moved to the UK on the encouragement of the government as there was a shortage of labour.

MORE: Ipswich MP brands treatment of Windrush generation as ‘monstrous’

Ivy Scott (left) hails from Barbados and moved to Suffolk in the 1970s Picture: IVY SCOTTIvy Scott (left) hails from Barbados and moved to Suffolk in the 1970s Picture: IVY SCOTT

The immigrants that relocated became known as the Windrush generation, named after the HMT Empire Windrush ship which transported more than 1,000 people from the Caribbean before docking in Essex.

Ipswich’s Windrush Select Committee had hosted celebrations in previous years, but government restrictions currently in place forced any plans to be scrapped.

With Windrush Day coming up on Monday, the committee have instead planned to host the event on air.

You may also want to watch:

Charles Challenger, chairman of the committee, said he relocated to the UK as the country “needed help” after the Second World War.

But Mr Challenger, who moved from Antigua in 1968, said there were racial prejudices in society and some Caribbean immigrants were not welcomed.

He said the committee were determined to not let the coronavirus pandemic prevent the generation from celebrating their impact on Suffolk and the UK.

MORE: Ipswich band inspired by Windrush fathers’ musical legacy to showcase unique Caribbean sound

Mr Challenger said: “Our plan was to have a celebration, but with Covid-19, we thought the best way to keep Windrush Day alive was to host it on the radio and online.

“The Windrush generation came with an open heart to help rebuild Britain.”

Ivy Scott, who moved to Suffolk from Barbados in the 1970s, added: “We will be celebrating the generation’s lives, their history and where they have worked.
“It will allow us to talk about the impact they made on their communities in Ipswich and Suffolk.

“The Windrush generation had a very important contribution to make. They helped make Britain multicultural and helped the country get back on its feet after the war.

“But they also brought their culture. They were poets, musicians, writers, publishers.”

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East Anglian Daily Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East Anglian Daily Times

A Suffolk safari organiser is back on the trail after lockdown. Philip Charles returned from six years working as a bear guide and researcher in British Columbia in Canada to set up Spirit of Suffolk in his home county. But the newly-formed business took a temporary hit when the coronavirus crisis struck. As well as safaris, Phil also runs photography workshops, and produces prints and home-made short books. He is a lecturer at Suffolk New College, teaching wildlife and conservation-based modules on the Suffolk Rural campus in Otley. Through his business, he aims to build a conservation-based economy connecting visitors with Suffolk’s stunning countryside both digitally and physically through safaris and lectures. “I spend most of my time on safari in farmland habitat on the Shotley and Deben peninsulas,” he says. “This guiding season for Spirit of Suffolk started early March and I had several safari bookings as well as two photography workshops planned throughout March and April.” Philip was just one safari into the season – with one urban fox tour under his belt – with the business really taking off when lockdown measures were introduced on March 23, which meant he had to ditch his planned events. Lockdown hit him hard on a personal level too, he admits. “I always thought I would be able to head out to the countryside still, alone, and with caution. But as lockdown measures were introduced I realised this was not to be the case. “On a personal level this was deeply troubling as time spent in nature forms who I am as a person in both actions and spirit. “From a business perspective initially it felt shattering as I could not operate any of the core elements of the business, and to have started the season so spectacularly well with an amazing first safari and superb urban fox tour I really felt bad for the guests that had trips booked and were now not able to take them. “As a wildlife photographer but living in central Ipswich I also felt limited in what I could do photography-wise.” But he picked himself up and started working on his website and social media strategies. It was a “joy” to provide a vital connection with nature to people stuck at home, he said. “Early on in the lockdown I started a project called ‘On the Doorstep’ in which I would spend a little time each day stood on my doorstep and photograph the comings and goings of people.” The project now forms part of a cultural snapshot of Ipswich in 2020 collated by Suffolk Archives. He also used the downtime to create short books. The two titles – Suffolk Wildlife - A Photo Journey, and Spirit Bear - A True Story of Isolation and Survival – have been “very popular”, selling both in the UK and abroad. They even received an accolade from veteran environmentalist and wildlife broadcaster Sir David Attenborough who described them as “delightful”. He has two more planned – the first of which is Bears and Hares, which is set to be followed by a collection of photo stories from the doorstep project. As lockdown eased in early August he was able to resume his safaris, initially on a two-week trial basis. The pilot proved very successful and as a result he was able to begin booking events again. “Although we are nearing the quieter season I continue to take people out who are keen on enjoying the beauty of Suffolk and its wonderful wildlife and I am personally excited for the beauty and joys of autumn,” he says. “People often purchase the safaris as a gift for someone else and this continues to be popular, as a birthday present or Christmas present that can be redeemed at any point in the future.” From October, he is also planning to resume his one-day photography workshops. “I have always loved showing people the wonders of nature, whether that be a grizzly, a barn owl, killer whales or an urban fox. I think the lockdown period offered a different appreciation for the things around us and I am ever so excited to be with people again and to be showing them all the wonderful wildlife of my favourite spots in Suffolk.” He has had to adapt the tours to ensure safety, but the changes are subtle and don’t detract from the main goal - which is seeing nature, he says. “I now encourage the guest to bring along their own drink and snacks and to also bring their own pair of binoculars. We do wear face coverings while in the vehicle and with the windows open to ensure ventilation. Such changes have been well received by the safari guests and we continue to have some great wildlife viewing.” He’ll be “forever grateful” to his customers and guests for their support and understanding during the pandemic. “Recovery all depends on the current status of local restrictions and the virus itself. I am hoping that a vaccine can be in place as soon as possible. As a fledgling business I have felt a hit, although the sales of short books has helped.” But he remains “positive and optimistic”, he says. “The only way is up,” he says. His hope is that Spirit of Suffolk will become a well-known brand. “I have long term goals of buying woodland for conservation and wildlife viewing and also establishing a small lodge where I can accommodate guests for taking multi-day safaris and tours. “For now I am happy to take things slowly and cautiously, testing the waters in certain areas as I continue to grow the brand and products that I provide. “It is exciting. I am so deeply passionate about what I do that I know it will continue to be a success.” Suffolk’s wildlife in spotlight as safaris get back on track