Steve was born to a white English mother from High Wycombe and an Afro-Caribbean father from St Vincent. As a mixed couple, Steve’s parents found neither culture would readily accept them. Racism, fear and ignorance made their lives difficult and finding a place to rent in High Wycombe was almost impossible. Finally they decided the safest place for their baby was a Barnardo’s children’s home in Kent.
My time at the home was strict but fair. We had to get ourselves up by 6:30am. The older kids looked after the younger ones – getting us dressed and teaching us how to survive in this world.
Steve’s parents would bring him to Wycombe as often as they could. While most of his maternal family embraced him, his grandfather did not approve of the relationship and would not allow Steve’s father into the family home. For many years he waited outside on the pavement during visits. When Steve got old enough to notice he questioned why and, ashamed, Steve’s grandfather went out and invited him in. Two months after the reconciliation, Steve’s grandfather died.
Steve with his grandfather.
Once Steve’s parents bought their own home in High Wycombe and Steve then moved to live with them permanently. As he grew older Steve became part of the High Wycombe Windrush community, enjoying the local social life and supporting his friends, many of whom were also from the local St Vincent community.
Steve with his mother and maternal grandmother.