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Supporting the Legacy of the Windrush Generation

Supporting the Legacy of the Windrush Generation

The 1% Matter Fund – set up by Ryley Wealth Management’s CEO David Ryley – has recently donated to cover the costs for a Windrush Celebratory Dinner will be held on the 23rd of June. The event will honour 35 individuals and family representatives of the Derby Windrush Generation, organised by George Grignon and others. Every attendee will receive a framed certificate from the day.

21st June 2023 marks the 75th year anniversary of when HMT Empire Windrush anchored at Tilbury Docks in Essex, before disembarking its 1,027 passengers the following day. Passenger 633 was a Mr Thomas Montague Douce; a 22-year-old Jamaican man and the first Black man arriving on HMT Windrush to call Derby home.

Thanks to his entrepreneurial mindset and the support of his wife Iris, they provided a package of assistance through housing, jobs, social activities, and financial support for those that followed – The Derby Windrush Generation, of which there were many. Many worked in nursing, public transport and engineering providing vital services to the city and county of Derbyshire, often accompanied with overt racism.

Thomas Douce not only opened grocery shops and import products to fit cultural needs, but also started an HGV haulage business, which employed workers from a diverse array of ethnic backgrounds. Furthermore, Mr Douce provided locals with a safe way to enjoy leisure activities by opening the Carib Night Club in 1972. This helped to mitigate against the risk of violent attacks or refusal of entry of the Windrush community into already established bars.

The celebration, held at Chatsworth House, is held to recognise those in the Derby Windrush Generation who helped to pave the way for all who came after. To create a truly lasting legacy, the organisers wish to mark the occasion by a special commemoration to the individual who was the true driving force – the original Windrush pioneer, passenger number 633, Mr Thomas Douce.

Events such these celebrate our differences and serve to forge new relationships between people of diverse backgrounds. This project will differ from previous ones because it will record the stories of those who are still with us and tell the stories of those who have since passed. Their stories will have a digital platform which the public can access, as well as hard copy versions. Those taking part will all receive a High Sheriff Award.

The father of the organiser of this celebration, George Grignon, arrived in Derby in 1955. When stepping off the train, he spoke to George Mitchell, a Jamaican man, and British Rail employee since 1952. George Mitchell told him about Mr Douce, and he was able to rent a room that night due to Mr Douce’s efforts to provide accommodation to migrants in the early 1950s when others refused.

Ryley Wealth Management and 1% Matters Fund are delighted to be supporting such an important event to help keep the legacy of the Derby Windrush Generation alive.

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