NHS marks 75 years of Windrush

On 22 June – Windrush Day – senior NHS leaders and staff from across the NHS joined colleagues from other public services and community groups at a number of events to celebrate 75 years of Windrush.

Dame Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England and Professor Sir Stephen Powis, National Medical Director at NHS England took part in a special event at the Windrush monument in Waterloo Station, London.

Bringing together the police, NHS, transport services, fire brigade and church leaders, attendees listened to passionate speeches about the vital role the Windrush Generation played in establishing services like the NHS.

Dame Ruth May (pictured) said: “Some of the passengers who arrived on the Windrush from the Caribbean 75 years ago, were some of the very first employees of the newly formed national health service, which launched just two weeks later on 5 July.

“Those colleagues who were part of the Windrush generation made an immense contribution to the NHS and the same can be said today as we continue to welcome internationally educated colleagues from across the world.

“Today, our NHS workforce represents more than 200 nationalities and is more diverse than at any other point in its history. We are so proud of the contribution they make, as they bring their valuable expertise and experience to the NHS.”

The event finished with a Walk of Witness, with 75 people – including NHS nurses and other staff – carrying a floral replica of the HMT Empire Windrush’s anchor (pictured) to a service of thanksgiving at Southwark Cathedral.

The day ended with a reception for NHS staff and partners hosted by the NHS Confederation and NHS Race and Health Observatory. Attendees heard personal stories from a number of speakers, including 97 year-old Alford Gardner, who was one of the original passengers on the Windrush.

Photo credit: Diocese of Southwark