QUEENS OF THE COMMONWEALTH MURAL UNVEILED IN BIRMINGHAM

A TV documentary will highlight the different lives of 22 women who left their families and homes for a better life in the UK. From India, Pakistan, Cyprus, Sierre Leone, and Jamaica to name a few, the women faced hardship, racism, and a complete culture shock when they arrived in England and their stories are brought together in this award-winning film which was named best documentary at the Royal Television Society Midlands Awards.

Little Dharshan came around from a horrific car crash to be told that she and her sister were the only survivors – almost her entire family wiped out.

Joy Hazel, Maureen Berry and Beverley Regis relive the football match at West Bromwich Albion where white players were pitted against black players, yes that really happened.

Esita Tuimanukalou was given just 10 days to leave the UK when her Commonwealth solder husband decided to end their marriage. She fought for her right to stay and has worked tirelessly for others since.

Dr Beverly Lindsay, like many people born around the world, grew up thinking ‘UK streets were paved with gold’ The reality couldn’t be more different. Hardworking and determined Beverly arrived in Birmingham from Jamaica as a teenager in the 1960s. She was a single mum-of-two before she turned 20 and lost a child to suicide – but these adversities have only propelled her forward. Beverly became the first black female The Vice Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands in a 500-year history.

And Louvina Moses, born in Tabernacle, St Kitts, couldn’t believe it when she received an invitation from the Queen after an astonishing career in nursing. ‘My grandmother would have been proud to hear that me, a poor person like me, reached Buckingham Palace.You never think you’ll get to the gates of Buckingham Palace, let alone to go inside.”

Louvina left her sons with her mum in St Kitts, aged just seven and nine, and ‘worked and struggled’ to set up a life in England.

Survival, courage, a fear of failure, and a sense of duty – 22 women from all across the Commonwealth tell their migration story. Queens of the Commonwealth will be available to watch on ITVX streaming channel from March 4.

The film was directed by Brummie Cypriot Panikos Panayiotou whose parents were in England temporarily when war broke out in Cyprus. This was documented in the film Queens of Amathus – which was filmed in Birmingham and Cyprus and shown in New York last month.

Michael Yiakoumi

Michael Yiakoumi

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