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Over 300 elders join Caribbean tea party at Hackney Town Hall to celebrate Windrush generation

PUBLISHED: 16:00 08 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:00 08 October 2018

Speaker of Hackney Clare Potter joins guests at the Windrush Tea Party. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney Council

Speaker of Hackney Clare Potter joins guests at the Windrush Tea Party. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney Council

Hackney Council

A Caribbean tea party gave the Windrush generation in Hackney the chance to celebrate their achievements, and saw a sing-along to “Swing low”, chats with old friends and rum punch all round.

Guests reminiscing at the Windrush Tea Party at Hackney Town Hall. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney CouncilGuests reminiscing at the Windrush Tea Party at Hackney Town Hall. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney Council

The tea party was organised by Hackney Council, as part of its Black history season of events, to mark their appreciation for their contribution to the borough.

More than 300 older people attended the event at the town hall on Wednesday, and were welcomed by a steel pan rendition of London is the Place for Me by Nostalgia - the only traditional “pan-around-neck” band in the UK.

The assembly rooms were decorated with flags from Caribbean islands, and art exhibits, including a replica of the Empire Windrush ship and original suitcases used while travelling to the UK, filled with passports and photos, were also on display.

Hackney-born BBC Radio London presenter Eddie Nestor MBE compered part of the afternoon and shared his experiences as a Windrush descendant, while the legendary drummer Jah Bunny and his band entertained the crowd.

Guests were treated to lunch at a Windrush Tea Party at Hackney Town Hall. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney CouncilGuests were treated to lunch at a Windrush Tea Party at Hackney Town Hall. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney Council

Traditional Caribbean cakes like sweet potato pudding, rum cake and sweet bread were served, and the menu also included patties, fish cakes and ackee and saltfish vol-au-vents.

Sherlene Barker, 73, who arrived age 18 from Barbados, said: “Hearing the records brought tears to my eyes. Back then, we communicated through music and it brought back so many memories.

“Those moments you thought you forgot, it was all brought to the forefront and you face the life that you passed. That was so touching, and today Britain is a better place for most.”

Peggy McKenzie, 68, who arrived aged eight from Jamaica in 1962 said: “At first I didn’t like it here as a young girl, the first thing that got my attention was all the smoke coming from the chimneys, I told my mum what is it, have the houses caught fire?”

Hermal Wilson and her son Weininger dress up in Windrush style clothes. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney CouncilHermal Wilson and her son Weininger dress up in Windrush style clothes. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney Council

Petra Roberts, cultural development manager at the council said: “Hackney has a large Caribbean population and this was a fantastic opportunity for us as a borough to celebrate the contributions the Windrush generation have made both locally and nationally - not only in helping to rebuild Britain after WWII, but helping to shape British society and culture.”

House of Amau poets who performed at the Windrush Tea Party. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney CouncilHouse of Amau poets who performed at the Windrush Tea Party. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney Council

Speaker of Hackney Clare Potter joins guests at the Windrush Tea Party. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney CouncilSpeaker of Hackney Clare Potter joins guests at the Windrush Tea Party. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney Council

Steel pan bands play at the Windrush Tea Party at Hackney Town Hall. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney CouncilSteel pan bands play at the Windrush Tea Party at Hackney Town Hall. Picture: Adam Holt/ Hackney Council

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