"Back together again": Preston communities finally get the chance to reunite and remember those lost to Covid

Some of Preston’s communities hardest hit by the pandemic will finally get the chance to reunite in style this weekend,  with special events planned.

Thursday, 12th August 2021, 3:45 pm

On Saturday, around 150 people from Deepdale will be attending a celebration at the Catherine Beckettt Community Centre to mark Islamic New Year and Pakistan Independence Day. It is also the first time the community has been able to come together at a large function since the start of the pandemic.

On Sunday at Hurst Grange Park in Penwortham, thousands of people are expected to attend the Windrush Festival 73- celebrating the contribution made to Britian by people who came to the county following the Second World War from Caribbean countries.

>>>Click here to read why Prestonians travelled to London calling for a new Windrush Act.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

How the Windrush Festival looked the last time it was held

“We can’t wait to be back together, and out performers can’t wait to get on stage”, said Windrush festival organiser Adrian Murrell.

“It’s going to be joyful and positive and we’re all looking forward to that, but it’s also right that we take time to reflect on the last 18 months and those we have lost since the last festival.”

During the event, which runs from 12pm to 6.45pm, there will be a 15 minute time for reflection, with people encourgaed to clap for loved ones.

Adrian said: “I get emotional thinking about it. We’ve lost a lot of elders this year to Covid and to old age, and we never got to say goodbye to them properly.”

Members of Deepdale Community Association

Adrian has organised a special VIP section for the elders attending, and promises to “spoil them rotten”, in recognition of their contribution as younger men and women coming to Britain.

He said: "They're the reason we started this event in the first place, to acknowledge them. These men and women gave up the best years of their lives to help the motherland rebuild."

He has thanked the acts who have given their time and talent free-of-charge, and Preston Councillor Martyn Rawlinson for his support in running the event and supporting the local community. Coun Rawlinson will also be singing the blues at the event.

Attendees are strongly urged not to travel to Hurst Grange Park by car as there is no parking.

The Windrush Festival has never been held in Hurst Grange Park before

Irfan Sabir of the Deepdale Community Association, which has supported Meem Madaat in puttin on Saturday’s event in Deepdale, said: “This is our first gathering in Deepdale since Covid, and it’s a time for us to really remember the neighbours we have lost and the work of all the NHS staff throughout the country.

“We will remember their sacrifices, but it also feels like this is a springboard to a more positive time.

"For some people it will be the first time they have seen one another since the start of the pandemic, so it will be quite strange in a way, and emotional too.

"There's an open invitation for all members of the community, it's a special event and people are really looking forward to it."

The festival running order

Guests at the event will celebrate with a meal, there will be speeches from elders in the community, children will sing the Pakistan national anthem, and diginitaries including the Mayor of Preston and the Superintendent General from the Pakistan Embassay will attend.

Adrian Murrell
Guests are asked not to travel by car to the Windrush Festival