Sebastian’s diary entries showcase the excitement he feels in connecting with the stories of his grandfather and grandmother’s journeys to the UK. He reflects well on their experiences, and how that has impacted him – and demonstrates the material reality of what life was like for his grandparents when they came to England. The reference to the change in food is particularly interesting – what a difference that must have been!Payal Bhavsar, Windrush Voices judge, Senior Communications Officer
Sebastian Sylvester, Moggerhanger Primary School
Windrush Voices competition winner
22nd June 2023
Today is Windrush day! All over Britain, we are celebrating 75 years since the arrival of Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks in Essex. This big ship brought hundreds of migrant workers coming to England from the Caribbean. Not everyone travelled by plane. People came from Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Guyana among other Caribbean countries.
26th July 2023
I asked my mum to speak to my grandparents about setting up an interview to ask them about their new life in England and being reunited with their parents again after so many years! I am going to ask them about the jobs they did and their experience of embracing a new culture.
28th July 2023
Today is the day! I can’t wait to hear about my grandad’s travels. My grandad said he came on a plane called a BOAC. He was eleven years old and his sister was ten. One of the things he remembered was how it felt strange that one day he was eating yam, eddoes and sweet potato and then suddenly he was eating mash potatoes and peas. Before he came to England, he lived with his grandpa for seven years and had not seen his parents since he was four.
My grandma could not remember much because she was only seven when she came here. She remembers travelling by boat with her older sister (my auntie) and their uncle. They both recall how cold it felt and how sad they were to leave all their relatives behind. She told me they lived close to all their cousins, aunts and uncles and it felt strange that suddenly it was just them with their mum and dad.
I think the Windrush children were very brave coming to England on their own and not seeing their parents for so many years. I am so proud of my grandma and grandad for achieving what they have because without them making that journey, me and my sister wouldn’t be here. Generation Windrush, I salute you!
By Sebastian Sylvester, Age 10
Youth voices at ARE
We’re supporting young people share their voices and ideas to shape our work and have an impact on employment, education and the criminal justice system through our Youth Panel & Ambassador programme.