Express & Star – Windrush campaigner talks about importance of heritage ahead of Repair Shop appearance

Windrush campaigner talks about importance of heritage ahead of Repair Shop appearance


Windrush campaigner and activist Patrick Vernon has talked about the importance of heritage and history in the run-up to his BBC appearance.

The campaigner is set to appear on the DIY programme The Repair Show on Wednesday, looking to get a vintage radiogram with a long history repaired by experts.

The radiogram was handed down to Mr Vernon by his late friend, Eddie Noble, who was a Second World War veteran born in Jamaica and settled in the UK following his service in the RAF.

Mr Vernon, convenor of the Windrush 75 network, said: “It was fantastic to appear on the show, it was a real honour. They featured four items on the episode with links to the Windrush era.

“The radiogram is dated back to 1962. It was gifted to me by my late friend Eddie Martin Nobel, who volunteered for the RAF in 1943. He was involved in logistical works, he made sure that the correct bombs went onto the correct planes.”

The radiogram, which combined radios and record players, could be spotted in most British homes after gaining popularity in the 1940s and 1950s.

Following the Second World War Eddie helped to resettle those who came to the UK, helping families build their lives in Britain after their service.

Mr Vernon continued: “Eddie gifted me this radiogram and his record collection, which featured artists like Nat King Cole and Glen Miller, I was meaning to get it repaired over the years, and this was the perfect opportunity, they checked the wiring of it and it was actually quite an easy job for them to do.

“The radiogram was very important in Caribbean history, during the time when my own parents first came over, it was important to socialise, people had house parties and the radiogram was a central part of that. Everyone had a radiogram.

Mr Vernon was made an Officer of the Order of British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for his services to the reduction of health inequality for ethnic minorities – after going on to successfully lead a successful campaign to recognise June 22 as the annual Windrush Day.

The campaigner said that now the radiogram is fixed, it plays a central part in his household but hopes to take it to local schools to teach about the historic item and its history.

Mr Vernon said: “At the moment it is for personal use. One of the things I’m hoping to do with this is to take it to local schools to teach about old items like this, but also the history behind it, and Eddie too.

“There is a lot of history in the radiogram and Eddie’s role in the Second World War too. I just think that if we didn’t record the Windrush generation, it would disappear, that’s why I campaign really.”