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The Caribbean comes to Sailmakers at exuberant carnival event

An exhibition to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Windrush Generation has been part of an exuberant celebration of the Caribbean at a busy Ipswich Shopping Centre.

The free four-day Summer Carnival at Sailmakers Shopping Centre has featured music from steel bands, the distinctive and spicy food of the West Indian islands, a host of activities for children and a display commemorating the contribution the people of the Caribbean have made to local life and culture in Suffolk.

Shopping Centre Manager Mike Sorhaindo, whose parents came from Dominica, in the West Indies, joined local steel band Phaze2 as a vocalist and entertained shoppers who thronged to the event on Sunday.

He said: “It has been a wonderful celebration of the Caribbean, a part of the world with such close ties with the UK.

“We have had Phaze2 playing here as well as one of the UK’s leading steelpan artists, the Mighty Jamma, on Saturday and we’ve had lots of fun staging our own carnival celebration.

“We were also delighted to host an exhibition by the Windrush Select Committee ahead of their event on Bank Holiday Sunday, August 26, when they will be marking the 70th anniversary of Windrush.”

Sailmakers Summer Carnival climaxed on Sunday with Phase2 rocking the shopping centre with their fusion of the traditional Caribbean sound with pop and rock influences.

A taste of the tropics has also been served up by Turner’s Caribbean Catering, run by local man Steve Turner, while youngsters have enjoyed face-painting, arts and crafts and a photo wall with a sunny Caribbean theme.

Max Thomas, 53, of the Windrush Select Committee, whose parents came from Jamaica, said: “It’s been great to have a unit at Sailmakers to publicise our event at the Bourne Social Club in Ipswich on Bank Holiday Sunday.

“It’s important to showcase the fantastic contribution the people of the Caribbean have made to the town and the region over the last 70 years.

“These have been hard-working and religious people who have brought their skills, their fashions and their music and they deserve to be celebrated and I hope this will become an annual event.”

Dave Claxton, of the Phaze2 Caribbean Steelband, said: “It was wonderful to perform at Sailmakers and to bring our music to so many people in such a great setting.

“It was absolutely brilliant with a lot of people gathered around us and enjoying the music and we played as good mix with Ed Sheeron and Amy Winehouse songs as well as soca, calypso and reggae.

“We actually played three sets and everyone had a good time. It’s good to let people know there’s a steel band in East Anglia.”

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