Arthur Torrington


Arthur Torrington has been at the forefront of championing the West Indian legacy in Britain and helped set up an organisation that has given the Empire Windrush its place in history.

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In 1995, Arthur Torrington received a phone call from RAF veteran Sam King to interest him in organising the 50th anniversary of the arrival of MV Empire Windrush. Sam had led the 40th anniversary in Brixton, south London, in 1988 and wanted the next one to be much bigger. The two set up a charity, calling it the Windrush Foundation, and then spent the following 18 months interesting others in their idea and getting as much publicity for it as possible.

Using their own funds, Arthur and Sam went around the country, gathering together as many people as possible with stories of the Empire Windrush and what would come to be known as the ‘Windrush Generation’. Arthur handled the publicity while Sam was the one who gave interviews to the British media.

Their goal was to turn the Empire Windrush into an iconic symbol representing early Caribbean migrants and their contribution to the rebuilding of Britain after WWII. It worked and the 50th anniversary turned out to be a huge success, spawning books and TV and radio documentaries. Sam, who had sailed on the Empire Windrush, was among those who met Prince Charles at St James’s Palace for an official ceremony to mark the day.” “The 70th anniversary celebrations in 2018 were even more extensive and included a lavish service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey attended by the Queen and prime minister Theresa May.

As a result, a national Windrush Day, supported by govern- ment funding, is to now take place on 22 June every year, encouraging communities across the country to celebrate the arrival of the MV Empire Windrush and the birth of Britain’s multicultural society. During the 1970s Arthur, originally from British Guiana, was the first of three black radio broadcasters on local London station LBC. The other two were Sid Burke and Hylton Fyle.

“Windrush Day, supported by govern- ment funding, is to now take place on 22 June every year, encouraging communities across the country”

In 1984, he founded the Black Gospel Association (BGA) and helped popularise the genre. The BGA supported gospel artistes and soon the likes of Mica Paris, a singer in the Spirit of Watts, were making the successful transition to the world of soul music. After receiving an OBE from the Queen in 2002, Arthur was made a CBE in 2011 for his services to the community, in particular his work for the Windrush Foundation and the Equiano Society.”

Arthur Torrington

Windrush 70

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