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News & Media

Media Release

Date: 22 June 2023

RUH film celebrates Windrush generation

A short film celebrating the contribution of the Windrush generation and their descendants to the establishment of the NHS has been created by the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, working with its partners in the local community.

Windrush Day takes place today (Thursday 22 June) and this year marks 75 years since the ship HMT Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex, carrying the first Caribbean migrants to help rebuild Britain after the Second World War.

Many of the Windrush's passengers – as well as their descendants – played a vital role in supporting the establishment of the NHS, which launched just two weeks after the ship arrived in England.

The short film includes interviews with members of the Bath Ethnic Minority Senior Citizens Association (BEMSCA), who talk about the memories of arriving in England, as well as interviews with RUH staff.

Speaking in the film, BEMSCA member Mrs Spalding said: "I came to England in 1956, when I was 16 years old. It was June when I arrived and I found it was quite cold – so I was a bit disappointed in the weather! It was lovely though to be here with my mother and father. But when winter came, no, I didn't like that and I wanted to go home, back to Jamaica!

"I went to St Martin's hospital to do my nursing training and then stayed there on the gynaecology ward for about seven years. Later I joined the RUH and the new Maternity unit."

RUH Radiology Porter Paul Grant said: "My dad came over to England in the early '60s. His first job was shovelling coal, and he'd say 'why did I leave a hot country to come here and shovel this black stuff – what am I doing?' but he kept doing it to better himself.

"I've wanted to work as a Porter for a long time. It started with my mum who worked at the Mineral Hospital as a domestic and then my sister decided she wanted to be a nurse.

"My mum would have been very proud of me, working at the hospital, and my dad too – both of them would be so proud."

Alfredo Thompson, RUH Director for People and Culture, said: "I want to say to the Windrush generation that you matter; everyone at the RUH is thankful for all you have done to care for the people in our community and we are proud to work alongside you."

Locally, Windrush Day is being marked by a high-profile event at Bath's Fairfield House, the home of BEMSCA.

The celebration will include the opening of the Bath Windrush – Past, Present and Future exhibition as well as the unveiling of bespoke artwork celebrating Bath Caribbean migration. There will also be stories of migration from BEMSCA elders, as well as music, poetry, Caribbean food and performances from the Rainbow Steel Band.

You can watch the RUH film here:


Download a printable version

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