Baroness Floella Benjamin given Bedtime Story


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Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage

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Baroness Floella Benjamin arrived into the UK from Trinidad in 1960

The early life of Baroness Floella Benjamin’s is to be celebrated in a CBeebies Bedtime Story.

Coming To England tells how the children’s TV show host arrived in London from Trinidad.

The Play School host was part of the Windrush generation – a name given to those arriving in the UK from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1971.

The book will be read by Professor David Olusoga, to mark the start of Black History Month.

It follows 10-year-old Floella as she sets sail for a new life in England in 1960, showing “how courage and determination can often overcome adversity”.

‘Encourage empathy’

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Professor David Olusoga will read the story, Coming To England

Professor Olusoga, historian and presenter of A House Through Time, said: “After reading Coming To England to my daughter earlier this month, I knew this was a very important and special book that needed to be shared widely.

“Not only does the story encourage empathy from children at a very young age, but also a greater understanding of the Windrush generation.

“It explains at an elementary level what it means to be a British person with black Caribbean heritage, a background that deserves to be celebrated and learned about.”

He added: “Stories are the bridge to opening up minds and personal stories like Baroness Floella Benjamin’s deserve to be heard.”

‘Fought every day’

Baroness Floella Benjamin given Bedtime Story

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Media caption“I fought every day”: Floella Benjamin remembers her childhood after she moved to the UK

In 2018, Baroness Floella told Newsround that she “fought every day” for the first four years of her life in Britain, and was made to feel like she “wasn’t welcome here”.

“I hated people for treating me as a colour, not as a person,” she added.

After attacking a tormentor with a lollipop, she had a “spiritual moment”, she continued. And from then on “stopped fighting with my fist and started fighting with my brain”.

She went on to host the BBC kids’ shows Play School and Play Away, and later moved into charity work and politics, working with the Liberal Democrats.

Baroness Floella was introduced to the House of Lords as a life peer in 2010, and made a Dame in the last New Year Honours list.

Bedtime Stories is on each weekday at 18.50pm on the CBeebies channel.

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BBC News – Entertainment & Arts

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