Monthly column: A Borough that celebrates and remembers

Mayor Tom with veterans on Armed Forces Day 2023
Mayor Tom with veterans on Armed Forces Day 2023. Image: Bedford Borough Council

Whether it’s our Armed Forces or remembering Windrush, our Borough really knows how to come together.

When joining Legacy of Windrush Decedents (LOWD) at the recent flag raising I was reminded once again how lucky we are to be a truly vibrant and diverse community.

It is important for all of us to take a moment and reflect on the significance of 22 June 1948. On this date, the Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks in London, carrying 492 passengers from the Caribbean who embarked on a journey to start a new life in the UK.

These individuals played a crucial role in the reconstruction of Britain after the devastating Second World War.

Within Bedford Borough, we are incredibly fortunate to have a remarkable community consisting of the Windrush generation, whose contributions have greatly enriched our entire borough.

Personally, I consider it a great privilege to have had the opportunity to listen to the captivating life stories of those who responded to our call for assistance in the 1950s. The British Caribbean community has played a significant part in shaping our area into the vibrant and thriving borough that it is today.

And then onto Armed Forces Day, from currently serving troops to service families, veterans and cadets, who walked through Bedford Town Centre and later stood for a minute’s silence on Sunday 25 June.

The unwavering dedication and selfless sacrifices of our military personnel have been instrumental in safeguarding our freedom and security. It was great to also head into the celebrations in Harpur Square and speak with the Royal British Legion on what is such an important day.

Bedford Kite and Motoring Festival 2023

We’ve also recently had the Kite and Motoring Festival along with Bedford Park Concerts. A huge thank you must go out to all those who attended and organised such a brilliant and wide-ranging set of community events – and I know there are more to come. 

Whether it’s listening to our brilliant Bedford Town Band at the bandstand on Mill Meadows or if you were lucky enough to get tickets to see Sting live in Bedford Park, our area is truly lucky to be enriched by its musical talent.

But more than anything the last few weeks have shown Bedford Borough at its best. I hope we all use such occasions to join our friends, family and neighbours to celebrate and remember the best of our Borough.

This is a monthly guest column provided by elected
Mayor Tom Wootton (Conservative). It is published unedited and
does not reflect the views of the Bedford Independent.

Keep Local news Alive in Bedfordshire