Lenore Sykes

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Lenore Sykes

https://soundcloud.com/essex-record-office/lenore-sykes-6-nov-2017


Biography

Born in Port of Spain Trinidad, Lenore Sykes came to England in 1963.

She was a trained nurse, licensed midwife and was coming to England on a scholarship to be a midwife teacher but was refused the scholarship she was expecting to receive. She felt she knew what to expect but wanted to further her education.  At aged 33, she decided to come on her own  and got a job in Marsden Green Hospital in Birmingham and quickly got promoted to sister. Lenore got on well with other Caribbean nurses but there was tension with white nurses. She told a story of how she met her husband Dr Roger Morton Sykes and how they got married in 1969 in Birmingham. They had three bi-racial children before they moved to Nigeria for 20 years.

Lenore arrived in UK on the SS Monserrat and describes the journey. She travelled by train from Southampton and talked about her journey to Fulham in London. She talked about her relationship with her husband and attitudes of people to mixed relationship. Her mother & father in law was accepting of her and their grandchildren. She spoke about a neighbour who deliberately threw bricks that almost hit her son when he was in a pram and her experience of racism from Nigerians when they went to live in Nigeria. She also spoke about her experiences of racism from both black and white people in the UK.

Rodger, Lenore’s husband became ill while in Nigeria which forced them to returned to England in 1994. She talked of attitudes to health and how she came to Colchester.  As a Member of union of Catholic Mother’s, she joined a similar group in her local catholic church in Colchester. Her husband died in 2009. Lenore has been an active member of the community, participating in Black History Month events at local libraries to tell stories to children to inform them of her culture and to nurture her love of Trinidad. She ends the interview by reciting a verse from a Lord Kitchener song.