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The untold stories of Windrush: A Journey of Resilience and Identity

In the cornerstones of history, there are pivotal moments that shape the destiny of nations and redefine the fabric of society. One such moment in Britain’s past was the journey of the Empire Windrush on June 22, 1948.


The voyage from the Caribbean began a new chapter in British history and transformed the cultural landscape of the United Kingdom forever.

Windrush era refers to a period of mass migration from the Caribbean to Britain that ensued following World War II. This Windrush Day we honour the Windrush Generation who made that historic journey and who influenced so many areas of society including art and music, politics and civil rights.

Pannel Croft resident Val Benjamin submitted her own story about her parents to the Lord Mayors Office and it was selected as a winner to be exhibited at the Windrush 75 Civic Reception. The event will be hosted by Councillor Chaman Lal the Lord Mayor of Birmingham and Val’s story will be joining others on display for attendees to read. She shares her story with us below:

My dad came to the UK in 1952, I joined him, at age 13 in 1965.

I would love to demonstrate, with likeminded people, our ups and down and our personal experiences.

I would like to take back the experience, to share within the community, how far we have come and how our continuous contributions made some differences to the way we used to live. Being one of only 3 black children, in the entire school, in Acocks Green, I was made to feel less than, bullied, excluded, from relevant and productive events, marginalised and inadequate.

When I arrived in England, May 1965, I stayed in London for one year. When my father took me to Stockwell Manor School, in London, I was asked to read a book. The teacher, asked, ‘Did you say that this child has just arrived from Jamaica?’ My dad replied,’ Yes’. The teacher then responded, ‘How did she read so eloquently?, implying that Jamaica could not produce such quality of intelligence.

Both my parents experienced such hostilities that it reflected in their treatment towards me. After leaving school with no qualifications, I am now proud to say, that I fought my way through, attended the then University of Central England (U. C. E) , was ordained as minister of Religion, became a qualified life coach, Ambassador for Peace, West Midlands Police Chaplain and founder (C. E. O.) Of a voluntary organisation which empowers young, and old, to turn adversity into opportunities. The organisation builds bridges for future generations, bringing healing from the past and inspiring others to recognise their skills and experiences so that they can utilise them to make a difference, in their lives and their communities.

Pannel Croft has a number of events commemorating Windrush including an exhibition in the hall, a Windrush workshop, guest speakers, films and documentaries, and a fashion show, dinner and DJ to showcase music and fashion from the 40s-60s.

Please contact Pannel Croft village for further details.