Bristol: Reggae orchestra launches Windrush Choir

Ms Rose said working with the choir was “just an absolute joy”

An orchestra has celebrated the 60th anniversary of Jamaican independence from the UK by launching a Windrush choir.

Bristol Reggae Orchestra recently launched the Windrush Reggae Choir, led by voice coach Gena Rose.

The six-month project will learn from the Windrush generation and their descendants, using funding from the government’s Windrush Day Grant Fund.

Ms Rose said the singers were “absolutely brilliant”.

The choir is one of 35 projects across England given a share of £500,000 to deliver projects which commemorate the history and contributions of the Windrush generation to British culture.

The orchestra has been awarded funding through the Windrush Day Grant Fund to bring together a reggae choir
American-born Gena Rose rehearsed with the choir in St Agnes Church in Bristol on Wednesday
Leader Becky Scott said: “Lots of people in the community like to sing and wanted to get involved.”
The project will culminate with a gala event on 22 October

Funeral details of Bristol civil rights activist Roy Hackett released

They will lay the Bristol Bus Boycott organiser to rest on 16 September

Relatives of civil rights pioneer Roy Hackett are inviting the city to celebrate his life during a day of remembrance next month. The community activist, who helped organise the 1963 Bristol Bus Boycott which paved the way for the Race Relations Act 1965, died on 3 August aged 93.

Mr Hackett was made an OBE for his lifelong fight against racism in 2009, an honour followed up with an MBE in 2020. His high-profile fans included Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who said the Bristol Bus Boycott “should be taught in every school”.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1928, Mr Hackett travelled to Britain in 1952 as part of the Windrush generation. He lived in Liverpool, London and Wolverhampton before settling in Bristol.

There, he found that the owners of boarding houses would not rent to him because of his colour, and he spent his first night sleeping in a doorway. In 1962 his wife Ena applied for a job as a bus conductor with the Bristol Omnibus Company and was refused, despite being qualified.

Inspired by Rosa Parks’ actions in America, Mr Hackett formed a pressure group with Owen Henry, Audley Evans and Prince Brown to fight the colour bar on Bristol’s buses. Supported by senior Labour party politicians, their action was successful when the bus firm announced an end to their ban on non-white employees.

The “born activist” continued his work as a community leader and mentor to Bristol youths, establishing the Commonwealth Coordinated Committee and the St Paul’s Carnival – one of the biggest of its kind in Europe.

His remembrance event will take place at Elim Church on Jamaica Street from 11am on Friday September 16, followed by burial at South Bristol Cemetery and a wake at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club.

Anyone seeking further information about the day is asked to telephone Adams Funeral Directors on 07860555133 or email