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Eunice McGhie-Belgrave

18th November 2017
A few weeks ago I saw a news item about Mrs. Eunice McGhie-Belgrave who is nothing short of extraordinary. With a spirit and energy which are immediately apparent, she has helped countless people, and in so doing has received an MBE, a Pride of Britain Award, a Queen’s Jubilee Award, and many others. Now well over 80 she is still helping others. Just one of many projects to help local people Eunice set up the Shades of Black community allotments project in the aftermath of the Handsworth riots in 1985. It started with a group of Afro-Caribbean women who were committed to developing the skills of young people. Fruits and vegetables grown by the young people are then harvested and distributed by them to elderly people in the local area. “If the children know where their fruits and vegetables come from and help to grown them they will understand how nice it is to eat the fresh ones rather than the pre-packed."

I was inspired by what she had achieved I wrote a poem and sent her a copy. She rang me to say how much she appreciated that and we chatted on the phone for quite some time.

This is the poem;


The crop is local children
and though she’s 83
she grows them sweet and bright and strong
and weans them off TV.

With spirit and with energy
this gardener took the lead
and in a small allotment
she planted a seed.

Local children come for fun
and learn to grow fresh food
and nothing here is wasted
all is used for good.

The garden feeds the children,
community prospers too.
SOB* grew from the riots
troubled Handsworth had gone through.

Eunice, Pride of Britain,
grandma, MBE
you do more than garden
you set young people free.

* SOB - Shades of Black Community Family Project

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