Tuesday 22nd October 2019
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09/10/2019 - A place in history

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A new project to recognise and celebrate the immense contribution our local Windrush generation has made to Luton life has been launched – and they would like to hear from anyone who has a story to share.

​A partnership between the community and Luton Council, The Luton Windrush Partnership Programme (LWPP) has a number of activities planned including the Reminiscence Project with St. Monica’s Day Centre. The programme will host yearly civic commemorations to be held on national Windrush Day (22 June) and as well as work with Lea Manor High School and a Windrush Thanksgiving and Celebration Service with Beulah Apostolic Church.

Norma Hoyte, programme coordinator, said: “We wanted to find a way to get our elders together to say ‘we are part of the history of this country’, and a vital part of the history of this town.
 
“We honour and salute our Windrush generation for their many sacrifices, customs and cultures they taught us.”
 
If you would like to get involved or to have your Windrush story told, please contact Norma by e-mailing [email protected].
 
Rose Allen is one of the first Lutonians to share her memories…
 
Rose’s story
 
In 1956, a 16 day crossing aboard the SS Auriga brought Rose Allen from the Caribbean island of Montserrat to the docks of Southampton.
 
She made the journey alone to join her husband, Samuel, to find a better life for her family. And she was prepared to work for it.
 
From clearing tables in Houndsditch to cleaning London’s prestigious Royal Free Hospital to working in a sausage skin factory and, finally, a pen manufacturer in Stevenage, Rose worked hard to help support her six daughters.
 
She and Samuel, who worked at Hatfield Aerodrome, would have another two girls following their arrival in the UK. And in 1968, the family made the move to Luton. “I came here for work - life was not always easy and we didn’t expect it to be”, she said. “But it is a nice place to live. Everywhere I go I make friends and I have plenty in this town.”
 
Many of those friends were made at St Margaret’s Methodist Church, where Rose was a dedicated member of the choir for many years.
 
“I was raised by an aunt in Montserrat who was an organist and choir mistress. My passion for singing began at the tender age of five”, she said. “Singing is my lifeline. I joined the choir at St Margaret’s and was there for many years. I still donate to the church but when you get on in age you know when enough is enough, I sing at St Monica’s Day Centre now.”
 
Still bursting into rendition from time to time, Rose has been known to have a little dance in the corridors of St Monica’s – where she has attended on a regular basis for 38 years - with her walking stick for support.
 
Long-term friend Lorna Malcolm said: “Rose is a most incredible lady, with an incredible voice and memory for her age. Her range of songs is astonishing”.
 
With a broad network of friends, eight daughters and a large caring family, Rose said she has been ‘truly blessed’.
 
“I’m trusting the dear Lord to see me to 100 years, and yes I will still be singing then.”
 
On June 22, 1948, the Empire Windrush landed at Tilbury Docks, Essex.
 
The arrival of 492 passengers from the Caribbean marked a pivotal moment in Britain’s history, and has come to stand for the rich diversity of this nation.
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