Women's History Month​

Celebrating Windrush 75th Anniversary

Women’s History Month
“Windrush Women”

Somerset African Caribbean Network are celebrating a Windrush Woman, Lynette Richards – Lorde during Women’s History Month.

Living in British Guyana that is now Guyana, she was a young woman who dreamt of becoming a nurse. Her father was putting money aside to pay for her travel to England. Lynette was also saving money from her job at the Ministry of Health in British Guyana.

In the West Indies, England was becoming increasing well known for being able to provide excellent nurse training.

Lynette, like quite a few West Indian young women, leapt at the chance of independence, ambition and adventure. As in many cases of the pioneering Windrush Generation, they often made the journey with siblings who also wanted to become nurses.

Some African Caribbean families today, are very proud to have treasured memories and photos of members of their family, sometimes several members, who arrived in what was to become their new home in Britain. In some families today the family tradition continues in its service to the NHS.

The NHS also has its 75th anniversary in 2023.

In Lynette’s case her father had concerns about her making the journey on her own as she was quite young. This led to her sister Veronica joining her. They said goodbye to each other when the ship docked in Plymouth. They had to wait for 6 months before they were re – united and could share their stories with each other.

Veronica went to nurse in Oxford. Lynette travelled by train Taunton rail station. She was collected by a hospital, car and taken to what was to become, the beginning of her nursing career in Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.

On a really cold day in February 1959 she arrived in Somerset to begin her training as a State Enrolled Nurse (SRN). There was another Guyanese trainee nurse at the hospital. In time she came to know other nurses from the Caribbean as well as Irish and English nurses.

She left Musgrove to take up midwifery training at Cheltenham Maternity Hospital.
It wasn’t until she moved to Birmingham that she nursed Black patients and saw black bus conductors for a first time since arriving in England!

Lynette went on to have an illustrious nursing career in many senior nursing roles and midwifery and social care management positions.

Susann is holding a book called “Nursing a Nation” An Anthology of African and Caribbean Contributions to Britain’s Health Services. She was a contributor to the book.

The book accompanied the unveiling of a statue. The statue was to The Windrush & Commonwealth NHS Nurses and Midwives. It was erected at the Whittington Hospital in North London in September 2021.

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