Wolverhampton will remember Windrush campaigner Paulette Wilson, who passed away in July at the age of 64, when her funeral takes place today (Friday).

She gave her name to the Paulette Wilson Windrush Citizenship Project, which was launched by Wolverhampton's Refugee and Migrant Centre in partnership with the City of Wolverhampton Council in 2018 to provide specialist advice and support to help local members of the Windrush generation gain their rightful citizenship.

Thousands of people who came from the Commonwealth to the UK after the Nationality Act 1948 and before the 1971 Immigration Act were given the right of indefinite leave to remain, including around 3,000 people living in Wolverhampton.

However, a series of cases arose involving individuals who had been long-term residents of the UK but did not have documents to prove their status. As a result, they were incorrectly identified as illegal immigrants by the Home Office and put at risk of deportation.

Paulette, who lived in Wolverhampton and was a former cook at the House of Commons, came to Britain from Jamaica in 1968. Her case was raised in Parliament after she was detained at Yarl's Wood Immigration Centre and threatened with deportation.

The Government subsequently confirmed that anyone from the Windrush generation could become a British citizen and the Paulette Wilson Windrush Citizenship Project supported numerous local people to apply for British citizenship.

Her funeral takes place at Heath Town Church today (Friday) followed by burial at Danescourt Cemetery. 

Councillor Ian Brookfield, Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: “Paulette Wilson was an inspiration to so many people and fought incredibly hard on behalf of fellow members of the Windrush generation who were caught up in the same dreadful situation she found herself in.

"As a council we were proud to be able to work with Paulette, her family and the Refugee and Migrant Centre to help support local residents to gain their rightful British citizenship. She will be much missed by everyone who knew her but her legacy will live on in the profound way that she helped to change so many people's lives for the better.

"Her funeral takes place today and, on behalf of everyone at the City of Wolverhampton Council, I would like to pass on our sincere condolences to her friends and family.”

Speaking at the launch, Paulette said she was "proud" to support the Paulette Wilson Windrush Citizenship Project. She said: “I believe that there are many people out there who feel vulnerable to the threat of deportation, loss of employment and who are not able to access healthcare due to not having proof of their rightful citizenship. They don’t need to suffer in silence as advice and practical support will be offered to those who need help.”

The council has been liaising closely with the family over funeral arrangements and confirmed Covid-19 measures will be in place. This is in line with all funerals and burials during this period.