Floella Benjamin OBE

was born in Trinidad in 1949. One of six children, she moved to London in 1960. After a brief career in banking, she made her way into the performing arts, first appearing on the London stage in primarily musical based theatre - Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar. Floella subsequently worked in television (Within these Walls and Bergerac) and film (Black Joy), but it was presenting gave her national recognition.The programmes Play Away and Play School made her a household name.

Prolific in many areas of the media, Floella has continued to work in television and radio as well as writing over twenty books. With her husband, Keith Taylor, she runs a production company which successfully markets worldwide.

Floella is committed to many charitable organisations and sits on numerous committees. These include Oxfam, Barnardos, The Royal Commonwealth Office Institute, The Commission on the future of multi ethnic Britain and the Caribbean advisory group for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This work has an emphasis on the plight of children which she holds most important. This is also reflected in her lifestyle. Above everything her family comes first.

The importance of education runs through all of Floella Benjamin’s work. Her book ‘Coming to England’ is an account of her experience of moving from Trinidad, and is now used to teach modern history to young people.

Floella was awarded an OBE in 2001 for services to broadcasting. She also has a Lifetime Achievement award from BAFTA.

To feel you belong is a most important necessity in life. This feeling was denied thousands of West Indian children who came to Britain but at least they had their memories of the homes they had left. The next generation, however, were born into a turmoil of not knowing enough about their roots and how they came to be born in Britain.