Prince William plays cricket with HMT Windrush passenger

Heartwarming moment Prince William bats with HMT Empire Windrush passenger, 97, who founded a West Indian cricket club in the UK in 1948

  • The Prince of Wales met Alford Gardner in an ITV documentary
  • READ MORE:  Happy birthday William! King shares sweet behind-the-scenes snap from Coronation rehearsal to mark Prince of Wales’ 41st birthday

This is the heartwarming moment Prince William plays cricket with a Windrush passenger who formed the first Caribbean cricket club in the UK in 1948.

Alford Gardner arrived in the UK in June 1948 on HMT Windrush before settling in Leeds to start a new life, as part of the government’s plan to rebuild society after the Second World War.

The cricket lover is one of two surviving passengers on the ship, which docked in Tilbury. He appears in ITV documentary Pride of Britain: A Windrush Special, which features the stories of influential members of the Windrush Generation and their relatives.

Alford, now 97, was just 22 years old when he boarded the ship in Jamaica, and  he shared the incredible story of how he founded the cricket club to the Prince of Wales in the documentary.

The pair, who previously met on Windrush Day in 2022, then travel to Headingley cricket ground where William takes to the crease with the bat as Alford bowls to him – and he asks the pensioner to ‘be gentle’.

Prince William meets Alford Gardner, a 97-year-old who moved to the UK from Jamaica when he was 22 in 1948, in an ITV documentary set to air tomorrow

In the clip, Alford jokes: ‘I can’t remember the last time I bowled a ball!’ while the Prince of Wales, 41, urges him to ‘be gentle’ with his throw.

Other members of the club praise Alford for founding the Caribbean Cricket Club in 1948, which has developed a strong reputation in the community over the decades.

Speaking about the club in his home, Alford tells Prince William there were other cricket clubs in Leeds when he arrived in 1948, but says: ‘I wanted a West Indian team!’

He explains some young players travelled to Leeds from nearby cities to join the club, adding: ‘The main thing was to have fun.’

Alford set up the Caribbean Cricket Club in 1948 when he moved to Leeds after arriving in the UK on HMT Empire Windrush 

The Mirror reports Alford was surprised by Prince William on the home visit, with another shock in store for him when the pair travelled to Headingley.

As Alford and the Prince of Wales arrived at the club, the cricket club founder was welcomed by friends and family, with the royal even making a speech to pay tribute to his contribution to the community.

Elsewhere in the programme, celebrities including Sir Trevor McDonald, Mel B, Alesha Dixon and Judi Love meet other members of the Windrush Generation and their families. 

In one incredibly emotional moment, a gentleman who came to the UK when he was just a baby breaks down in tears upon finally receiving a British passport. 

Joseph Mowlah-Baksh, 65, tells former Spice Girl Mel B: ‘Not having a passport, uh, to me has meant not having an official identity. 

Joseph Mowlah-Baksh, 65, describes himself as an ’emotional wreck’ as he speaks to former Spice Girl Mel B (pictured left) about living without a passport for 40 years

‘I’m 65 years old. I’ve lived in Birmingham all my life. My father was in the RAF. He left the West Indies to come here.  

‘Here by Windrush that was wicked to find out that he was actually on the ship. My mother was a military policewoman from Ireland’.

He adds not having the document has made it difficult to find steady employment over the years and has had a huge impact on his life.

‘From leaving school I always worked and that was my intention – to work till I retired,’ he explains.

‘But, because of laws changing, I just found it more and more difficult to gain employment. I had really good interviews, shake their hand.

‘[They would ask] “When you come in can you bring a passport or driver’s licence just to verify the details?” And I’d have to get into my story all over again’.

Later on the programme, Joseph holds back tears and calls himself an ’emotional wreck’, before adding that the heartbreaking situation is ‘enough to make anybody just go into a depression’.

Three months later, the crew returns to Joseph’s home where he is finally in possession of a passport.

Cheers erupt among the film crew as Joseph receives his first ever passport and says the drama is ‘finally finished with’ after 40 years of chasing the Home Office. 

The HMT Empire Windrush was the first of many ships to arrive between the late 1940s and 1970s, bringing people from the Caribbean who answered Britain’s call to help fill post-war labour shortages.

Filmed across the UK and produced by Multistory Media [part of ITV Studios], the 1×60 film, the Windrush Generation, will bring together stories that celebrate their contributions to British life and culture, as well as shedding light on the reality of the struggle many faced to gain citizenship despite having lived and paid taxes in the UK for many years as a result of what became known as the Windrush scandal.

The film is being made in association with Pride of Britain and the Daily Mirror. It is commissioned for ITV by Nicola Lloyd, Factual Commissioning Editor and Sue Murphy, Head of Factual Entertainment.

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