A new blue plaque to honour the life and contribution of Windrush scandal campaigner Paulette Wilson has been unveiled.
Paying tribute to the much-loved Wolverhampton mum and grandmother, it was installed at The Heritage Centre in the city’s Clifford Street.
Coinciding with Windrush Day 2021 and 73 years since the SS Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks, the plaque was unveiled this afternoon, Tuesday, June 22, by the Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Greg Brackenridge.
Windrush scandal victims from across the country turned out in solidarity to pay tribute to the prominent campaigner.
Paulette’s daughter Natalie said: “We are honoured and grateful for the support. It means a lot.
“Mum just wanted to help others and get justice. I will not allow my mum’s name to go in vain. I shall continue the fight until the lessons learned are put right so again me and my family are honoured to be able to put a blue plaque in honour of my mum.
“I will do whatever it takes to make sure Mum’s name will forever be spoken as a single mum who didn’t give up and fought for her rights.”
She then devoted her life to helping other Windrush scandal victims before she died at the age of 64 last July.
The plaque was funded by surplus money donated to a GoFundMe campaign to remember Paulette after she passed away.
Windrush campaigner Patrick Vernon OBE told BlackCountryLive: “Holding the event at The Heritage Centre is significant on two levels. Firstly, Paulette loved going there to social but more importantly, the building – which is now Black-owned -used to be the constituency office of Enoch Powell, when he wrote his Rivers of Blood speech in 1968.
“In that speech, he spoke about the children of migrants who should not come to Britain. In many ways that describes Paulette because she came to the UK in 1968 as a ten-year-old. It’s poetic justice and history going full circle and coming back again.”
The government launched a Windrush compensation scheme in April 2019. However, there have been calls for an overhaul as thousands of claimants are yet to receive a payout.
Mr Vernon added: “It has been estimated that over 15,000 people are entitled to claim under the government’s Windrush compensation scheme but only around 680 people have received payouts. Firstly, there is a backlog that the Home Office is dealing with, and secondly there are people who have not come forward to process their compensation.
“One of the reasons for that is that people don’t trust the home office for a variety of reasons.”
Thandiwe Newton and Sir Lenny Henry are among the 100,591 people who have signed a petition calling for the Windrush compensation scheme to be amended by the Home Office.
Find out more about the campaign here.