This Windrush Wednesday I’m not going to say very much, I’m going to leave it all to Professor Laura Serrant OBE and her Poem You Called and We Came.

Her words are incredibly powerful.

Whilst I’m talking about Windrush, ITV have a programme on tomorrow night at 9pm made by Pride of Britain celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Windrush, I don’t know if it’s any good I haven’t seen it, but if you don’t know much about Windrush and why I talk about it a lot then it might be worth having a look, I’ll give it a look and pray that they do justice to our amazing Windrush generation.

You Called, We Came – Professor Laura Serrant, OBE

In ships bigger than anything we had seen, dwarfing our islands and covering them in the shadows of smoke and noise.

Crowded, excited voices filled the air, traveling to the ‘motherland’

– over weeks, over oceans that threatened to engulf us.

Driven by a wish, a call to save, to rebuild and support efforts to establish ‘health for all’ in the aftermath of war.

You called…and we came.

Women and men of position in our homelands; nurses with a pride in the excellence of our care.

With experience of management, organisation and a sense of duty.

We appeared.

Smiling and eager to work on the wards, communities and clinics of this England.

You called…and we came.

Our big hearts, skilful hands and quick minds encased in our skins – of a darker hue.

Which had shimmered and glowed in our sunnier climes..

But now signified our difference

– our un-belonging.

Matrons became assistants

Nurses became like chambermaids.

All the while striving to fulfil our promise

– to succour, to serve, to care.

You called…and we came.

The blue of the sister’s uniform

– seemed as far away from us as the moon.

Unreachable by our dark hands in this cold land.

But we were made of sterner stuff.

The hot sun, which once beat down on our ancestors, when they too left their lands,

Shone within Us.

Forging our hearts and minds with the resistance of Ebony.

You called…..and we came.

Rising like the Phoenix, from the heat of rejection.

We cared, we worked and we organised.

Until the quickness of our brains and the excellence of our care made it hard for you to contain us.

And slowly, so slowly,

the blue uniforms had dark and lighter bodies beneath them.

The professional care in our touch

was valued despite the strangeness of our speech and the kinks in our hair.

You called…and we came

A new millennium – new hopes spread across this land.

New populations, engaging and reflecting the varied, diverse and vibrant nature of these shores.

Challenging and reflecting on leadership for health.

Moves to melt the ‘snow’ at the peaks of our profession.

Recognising the richness of our kaleidoscope nation.

Where compassion, courage and diversity are reflected In our presence and our contribution:

Not only the hopes and dreams of our ancestors.

– Human values needed to truly lead change…and add value.

Remember… you called.

Remember… you called

YOU. Called.

Remember, it was us, who came.

As part of The Hope Gala Ball we will be hosting an exhibition celebrating forgotten heroes and heroines of the Windrush Generation who were instrumental in WWII and the rebuilding of the UK after the war.

There are still a few tickets available, just head to The Hope Gall Ball page.