Last updated:

17th August 2023

Wokingham Windrush Generations

Telling the story of our diverse communities

Volunteers help film interviews for Wokingham Windrush Generations at California Country Parkrun


Wokingham Windrush Generations looks to teach multimedia skills to young people by telling the stories of our diverse communities in our borough.

Young people were invited to create short films, where they interview diverse groups who have migrated to Wokingham since 1948.

This is to celebrate the ‘Windrush’ generation are those who arrived in the UK from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1973.

To help tell the story, the young people are made their story about Ruby Lee, a much-loved local volunteer who contributed to California Country parkrun. She’s was one of the key volunteers since the event in Finchampstead was set up in 2019.

Although Ruby’s parents weren’t on the Windrush, they did come over to the UK from Barbados at this time and carved out good careers for themselves in the UK.

Ruby’s corner and her story

Ruby Lee smiles to the camera and puts her thumbs up

Words by Jeff Prestridge, a fellow volunteer at California Country parkrun

Ruby died in December 2022 after getting cancer. She is much missed. 

Ruby was part of the California Country parkrun fabric, among the first to volunteer and always smiling at participants as they flew or trudged past her.

A Ruby smile, followed by some words of encouragement, always seemed to give everyone a second wind.

Today, a bench dedicated to Ruby stands where she once stood most Saturdays - come rain, snow or sunshine, blazing sun or freezing conditions, glorious mud or firm paths. 

The wooden bench was paid for by parkrun participants and family members. On it is a plaque that says what we all know: that Ruby was the ‘heart’ of California Country parkrun. Absolutely. Big hearted Ruby. A giver. A lover of people.

The bench now stands at Ruby’s Corner - and it always will. No one who takes part in the California Country parkrun can go past without noticing a bright yellow poster proclaiming ‘Ruby’s Corner’.

Making and showcasing the film

Young people joined at California Country early on 1 July to put together the film.

They worked with Quentin Clark from Silk Purse Videos to learn the skills, interview those who knew Ruby and put together the film.

One of the people they interviewed was Robert Tyson, one of Ruby’s three sons.

“The film is a super idea” Robert said. “My mum contributed to making Wokingham a more inclusive town. She loved life. She loved people. And of course, she loved the parkrun community. It meant so much to her.”

They also interviewed event organisers and participants who talked about their experiences of being supported by Ruby when they took part.

Other young people were involved in working with Quentin on post-production and putting the film together.

It will be showcased at the Wokingham Schools Film Festival as part of a series of Windrush Generation stories from the borough.

A camera crew and interviewers take an interview at California Country Parkrun

How it makes a difference

Caroline Saynor, who is head of art and diversity, equality and inclusion lead at Holme Grange School in Wokingham, is steering the Wokingham Windrush Generations project.

She worked to coordinate the young people and developing their skills as part of the project.

“Wokingham is not a homogeneous market town,” Caroline said.

“The idea of the film is to demonstrate its diversity and the good that it has brought to the town. Ruby embodied that.”

About Community Diversity Grants

Wokingham Windrush Generations was one of the awards in the 2022 Community Diversity Grants.

In total, £5,000 was awarded by the borough’s Equality Forum to nine organisations to provide innovative and imaginative approaches to promoting inclusion locally.

The groups awarded all work to tackle inequality and discrimination in the area.

This article is part of a series showcasing how the borough is working to celebrate diversity, tackle inequality and make a difference to parts of our community.

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