Windrush Festival to be staged in Preston in July or later

Organisers of Preston's annual Windrush Festival say they want this year's postponed event to be an opportunity to pay tribute to the senior members of the local Windrush community who have died during the past two years.

Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 2:11 pm

The organiser of Preston s annual Windrush festival event has declared it will go ahead this year - even if it has to be postponed until December.

Adrian Murrell made his announcement following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to extend the national Covid restrictions until July 19.

Noting that last year's Festival had been cancelled completely, he said: "We're desperate to do it this year.We're going to look at July 25. We're definitely going to do it, even if it's in December and freezing cold."

Happy times at a previous Windrush Festival in Preston
Happy times at a previous Windrush Festival in Preston

Adrian, Director of the Windrush Initiatives CIC (Community Interest Company), continued: "It's 73 years this year since our parents were invited over to help rebuild Britain. Obviously with lockdown we've not been able to celebrate and we've lost a number of these first generation who came here.

"Just like other communities we've not been able to say a goodbye properly or mark their lives properly .There's a lot of heartbroken people in this community, saddened by the loss of these people. They did bring a lot to this community and to Preston. "

A full day of musical entertainment had been lined up for the family event which Adrian hopes will run from 11.30am to 7.30pm, later in July with DJs and entertainers Stephen Bayliss, Gino and Hayley Eccles, Rick Starr, Andy Quickdraw , Ryan Peake, Tony King, LJ and James Blackrod, reggae band Zamaica poets John Devey and Sean Hobson, Afro Aerobics and DLM dance.

Now the search is on to find a new outdoor venue for the day long event should pandemic restrictions be lifted. Adrian said this year's Festival will be called "Windrush Festival 73 - Hotter Than July" marking the significant 73 year anniversary since the arrival of the ship MV Empire Windrush, which docked in Tilbury on June 22, 1948, bringing workers from Jamaica, Trinidad and other Caribbean islands to help fill labour shortages and rebuild the UK economy after the second world war.

Poster image for the planned event

It will be open to everyone from all communities said Adrian, who added: "It's Preston's multicultural community coming to a multicultural event."

Previous festivals have attracted around 3,500 attendees.

The anniversary of the docking of the Windrush ship in England is on June 22.

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Scene from a previous Windrush Festival in Preston
A dancer at a previous Preston Windrush Festival