Refugees get bunting out to celebrate Jubilee

Posted on 31 May 2012 - 6 Comments

Photo: Alwyn Ladell

“I’m looking forward to celebrating my 55 years in Britain,” said refugee Bob Vertes, who will be attending one of the first street parties of the Jubilee weekend.

Bob, who came to Britain from Hungary after the 1956 uprising, said the Jubilee was an opportunity for him to look back at all his great memories of his years in Britain.

“I would not have had the freedom to practise my religion as a young child growing up in Hungary as I was able to do here,” says Londoner Bob, who arrived in Britain not speaking English and went on teach maths in schools and at university level.

“I was also proud to be invited to a royal garden party,” said Bob. “I feel British rather than Hungarian although I am proud of my Hungarian roots.”

Paul Sathianesan, who is a Newham councillor and a refugee, will also be attending the street party, which will be a chance to both celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee, as well as acknowledging the contribution that refugees have made to British society during her reign.

The street party will have plenty of fun too, with cakes, bunting and face paintings for children, and has been organised by the Refugee Council, with support from British Future.

Research carried out by Ipsos MORI for British Future showed those born outside the UK felt a slight higher level of strong belonging to Britain (70%) than those born in the UK (66%). People outside the UK were just as likely as those born here to feel it took around three years for  neighbourhoods to welcome outsiders as one of them, with 47% of both groups saying it took up to three years to fit in and be accepted, only 4% of those born outside the UK said it took ten years to be accepted as part of the neighbourhood.

In previous research, refugees voted the Queen top of their list of people they most admired, and the British people are top of their list as the factor they most admired about the country.

Watch a video interview with Bob below:

Watch a video interview with Paul below:



  • Comment by Alex Asher at 21:04 on 01.06.12

    The vast majority of refugees have settled in England – do they feel English? BTW I’m getting the impression that this site is about immigrant futures more than ‘British’ futures. There’s most definitely nothing here for anyone who considers themselves English.

  • Comment by Rachael Jolley at 18:47 on 09.06.12

    Interested to hear you say that Alex, not sure what you mean exactly. Do check out our British Histories section where we interview people about their identities, and what they feel. Many people feel both English and British, or Scottish and British, for instance, while over in our national conversations section we have articles about the national identity conversation in each of the four nations. You will see our call for an English anthem, and a discussion of St George’s Day.