Kelly joined his parents in England when he was about ten in 1968. Back in St Vincent he lived with his brothers and sisters in his grandmother’s house with aunties and uncles all nearby.
I never thought of who we were leaving behind when leaving, I was excited to be going on a plane and I was so happy to be coming to see mum and dad.
In High Wycombe his parents had a house in Cressex and there were other aunts, uncles and cousins, already settled living locally, so he felt happy and shielded within the community. He also had three younger siblings born in England.
Kelly with his brother Jeffrey and their cricket team.
Although I might have deemed them as spoilt, that was mainly because they had never been apart from my parents, so naturally there was a difference in the bond with our them. I got on with them fine.
Kelly found school different in England. In the Caribbean he loved school and was proud of his achievements, whereas in England he felt much less able to achieve.
I do not believe my British education really helped me in life, it felt like we were just tolerated at secondary school then pushed out to get a job in the factory as soon as you could. Teachers did not expect much of us and parents were not paying attention.
Kelly’s dad worked at Broom and Wade’s Air Compressor Manufacturers, his mum worked at Long and Hambley’s plastics factory. On leaving school Kelly first went to Aylesbury College to study engineering but he found fitting in with work colleagues difficult. He then studied a furniture diploma at Wycombe and then started work at Hands Furniture where he still is 46 years later.
I was treated ok both at school and at work, no one said anything to your face. English locals, adults and children alike, would call us Wogs (Golly Wogs) or black bastard, behind your back. If you’re into sport Whites would always say “he’s alright” no matter your colour.
Kelly had three sons, but stayed living at home with his parents until he got married. His sons have done what they wanted in life with his support. One of his sons was killed in an accident and he found the church helped him through that time.
My only contact with the police happened as a result of a football match in Princes Risborough. The other side started calling us black this and black that. A fight broke out… quite a few of us got charged with affray on conviction. I got a conditional discharge.
Kelly and his mother.