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Retracing granddad’s footsteps to Britain


Retracing granddad’s footsteps  to Britain

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FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD MAYA WOODING-LEWIS had the experience of a lifetime earlier this year, when she was selected to get a sense of her grandfather’s life growing up in Barbados.

She was chosen from among 10 000 potential selectees.

On June 18, BBC TV Newsround, a news magazine programme that keeps young viewers up-to-date with the latest stories and events happening at home and abroad, will be showing a special to mark the 70th anniversary of the Empire Windrush’s arrival in Britain.

Newsround took two children back to the West Indies to find out about their family stories. Maya and Levi, 12, travelled to Barbados and Jamaica, respectively, for the very first time to discover why their grandparents took the decision to start a new life in Britain all those years ago.

They experienced what it was like to grow up in the West Indies and had three special missions to complete before making the journey back to England.

Preston Wooding, Maya’s granddad, was born in Brittons Hill, St Michael, and grew up in Dover Woods, Christ Church, where he attended St Lawrence and St Matthias schools. In 1961 he left for Britain under the London Transport Scheme.

At the invitation of the Barbados Government, the scheme began a recruitment drive in the Caribbean in February 1956. As a result, many thousands made the decision to emigrate from the Caribbean to Britain and begin a new life working on London’s public transport system.

Preston worked at Harrow and Wealdstone Bus Garage in Middlesex as a bus driver for most of his career. During that time he met his late wife Norma and they had two children, Rosie and Jenny. He still lives in the area, and his pastimes include watching cricket and playing dominoes at his local club on High Street.

In January, accompanied by her mother Jenny, Maya visited Preston’s old school, surfed at Dover, and was also able to meet her uncle Patrick Tull, a chef who taught her to debone and cook flying fish. She and her mother were also special guests at a special reunion party for some of her granddad’s friends.

He is proud of his granddaughter’s achievement. adding it makes him laugh every day when he thinks about her. This “cool guy” says this new-found fame won’t bother him, but that he misses Norma.

Finding My Family: Windrush A Newsround Special will air on BBC on June 18, at 17:30 p.m. Preston and Maya will also be interviewed on BBC Breakfast. (TR)