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‘We’ve seen our mum work hard so she thoroughly deserves it:’ The Gabbidon children thank their mum at Windrush event

Elrita Gabbidon was 18 when she travelled on a boat from Barbados to the UK in the 1960s as part of the Windrush generation.

Around sixty years later and she can’t walk through Cwmbran town centre without being stopped by people who want to thank her for delivering their children while she worked as a midwife. Last night Mrs Gabbidon, from Southville, was one of 19 people presented with an award by Cwmbran Community Council at an event in the Parkway Hotel to celebrate the achievements and contributions of the Windrush generation to Cwmbran and the surrounding areas. Stories were shared about people’s impact in areas as wide as sport, youth work, healthcare, community leadership and education.

Mrs Gabbidon grew up in Saint Philip and left in the 1960s to train to be a nurse at the Royal Gwent Hospital. After qualifying she specialised in midwifery and delivered babies at both the Royal Gwent and Panteg Hospitals. While training she met Doran, whom she married and they had three children, David, Dawn and Danny. Mr Gabbidon passed away in 2022.

Danny is the former Wales international footballer who won 49 caps for his country and now works as a TV and radio pundit. He walked his mum up to collect her award.

Mrs Gabbidon told the room of around 100 people: “I just want to thank you all very much for thinking of me.”

Danny said: “To see you get recognition for how you are as a person and all of the hard work you’ve put into the community makes all of us proud as a family. Whenever we go up Cwmbran town, it’s a privilege for me because so many people come up to her and just say ‘thank you’. To see the respect that you’ve got, not just from us a family but all the people in the community, and so many people coming up to you and saying what a fantastic job you did as a midwife and what a nice person you are, just makes us all really proud as a family, mum. So that’s why we’re all here today, to recognise your efforts.

“I just want to say a big thank you to everyone in this room, especially the Windrush generation because some of us are the younger generation and you know we wouldn’t be able to kind of have the lives we’ve had without the people that came before us.”

Dawn said: “Even just from my mum and dad, they’ve got so many amazing stories and it’s events like these that you get to hear these stories and it keeps them alive. I always used to say to my mum and dad, ‘you could write a book’ with the things they used to tell me.

“If you go to town with my mum you have to factor in at least an extra hour because she will get stopped by everyone. She comes across as quite shy but people love talking to her. It’s nice that all these people still remember her. These are people whose kids are in their 20s and 30s now and are still stopping her and saying ‘you delivered my son, my daughter, and I still remember you because you gave me such wonderful care’.”

She joked: “It’s lovely for her to get that recognition, difficult for us when we’re shopping!”

David said: “My mum is a very shy person, this really means a lot to her, privately I know it will. She’s a simple person, she likes nothing more than a thank you. We’re really proud as children because we’ve seen our mum work hard so she thoroughly deserves it. She’s had a tough time so this is a just little bit of joy in her life, just to make things a little bit easier for her. It’s a really, really proud moment.”

Cllr Anthony Hunt with David, Danny and Dawn Gabbidon
Cllr Anthony Hunt with David, Danny and Dawn Gabbidon (Photo: Cwmbran Life)

Community Cllr Sean Wharton later called the three Gabbidon children up together for an award.

Cllr Wharton spoke about Danny:  “He is an aspiration to so many. He’s a role model to people within Cwmbran and within the UK. He wouldn’t be the way he was if it wasn’t for his mother, he wouldn’t be who he was if it wasn’t for his brother, he wouldn’t be who he was if it wasn’t for his sister.”

Danny said: “I’m shocked. I never expected this at all. I don’t think we see ourselves or think of ourselves in kind of that way. I think similar to mum who’s been up here, you just kind of go about your business doing your thing, make something of yourself, just work hard and stuff. We’ve been lucky enough to have the best role models with mum and dad who have instilled a lot of great values into all three of us. You know love, respect, work hard, all of those things, And we’ve just tried to copy them I suppose.”

“We were really lucky to have two amazing parents first and foremost and a really nice community. There wasn’t too many black people in our community to be honest with you, but we never really felt that way as kids. I don’t think it was ever a problem for us, or we never got really discriminated against or anything like that.

“We had a really good upbringing and enjoyed our childhood. As my sister said this is about celebrating the community, it’s great to have our family here and see our mum get recognised. This is all about the community as a whole and to hear the stories of what it used to be like and some of the hardship and different struggles they had to go through to pave the way for the likes of us to come through and have a better life. It’s amazing. There are so many amazing people in the community and this is an opportunity for them to be recognised.”

The Chris Campbell Award

Community Cllr Kebba Manneh announced Cwmbran Community Council’s first Chris Campbell Award. Mr Campbell passed away in October 2022. He was a community champion from Cwmbran who got involved in everything from serving food at a lunch club in Thornhill to campaigning against injustice to organising events to celebrate the Windrush generation in Wales.

Cllr Manneh said: “We now come to the final award of the night, a special award for a man who contributed so much to his community in Thornhill and way beyond, a man who stood up for the downtrodden and for the ignored, a man who fought racism, poverty and injustice, who volunteered, educated and inspired.”

He asked Emma, Chris’ partner to collect the award and said: “Please Emma, can you collect this award on behalf of Chris and to know that the Chris Campbell Award will be made yearly from now on to a member of the community in Cwmbran who exemplifies the spirit, commitment and leadership of Chris, so that his name and legacy shall be remembered and celebrated each and every year.”

The full list of people who were recognised at the Windrush event

  • Dorothy Johnson
  • Kristian Wharton
  • Jacob Guy
  • Angie Isaacs
  • Reverend Alvan Richards Clark
  • Justin Johnson
  • Elrita Gabbidon
  • Alex Wharton
  • Vida Greaux
  • David, Daniel and Dawn Gabbidon
  • Maralyn Bryant Jones
  • Ena Radway
  • Dorrett Brown
  • Dell Carnegie
  • Loretta Smith
  • Merdina Broomfield
  • Muriel Wharton

Photos from the Windrush event

a group of people holding glass trophies
A group photo of many of the people who collected awards at the Windrush event
Kristian Wharton, deputy headteacher of Cwmffrwdoer Primary School with Cllr Anthony Hunt (Photo: Cwmbran Life)
Kristian Wharton, deputy headteacher of Cwmffrwdoer Primary School with Cllr Anthony Hunt (Photo: Cwmbran Life)
a room full of people sat at tables
The event was held in the Parkway Hotel in Cwmbran
three men, one holding a trophy
Jacob Guy (centre) with his award and Sunil Patel and Cllr Sean Wharton from No Boundaries Training and Consultancy
a group of women stood around a table
Guests at the Windrush event in the Parkway Hotel
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‘We’ve seen our mum work hard so she thoroughly deserves it:’ The Gabbidon children thank their mum at Windrush event

Elrita Gabbidon and her children Danny, David and Dawn
Elrita Gabbidon and her children Danny, David and Dawn (Photo: Cwmbran Life)