In a ceremony to launch his book, “Speaking Truth to Power, The Life and Times of an African Caribbean British Man”, Mr. Arthur France, an iconic figure in the United Kingdom, co-founder of the Leeds Carnival, community activist, cultural heritage curator and history maker, was honoured and celebrated for his contribution to culture in the United Kingdom.  The event was hosted by the Hon. Fabian Hamilton, the Labour Party MP for Leeds and Shadow Minister for the Caribbean.  In attendance were Baroness Judith Blake, and Lord Paul Boateng, who both spoke to celebrate Arthur’s life’s work; along with Councillor Mahalia France-Mir, Rev Gloria Hanley, Ansell Wong CBE, H.E Kevin Isaac, High Commissioner and nationals from St. Kitts and Nevis.  

During the ceremony, held on Monday, His Excellency Kevin Isaac remarked on “how fitting it was that in the year when we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the arrival of Empire Windrush and the contribution of the Windrush Generation to the re-energising of a war-affected United Kingdom, that we also celebrate Mr. Arthur France MBE, a cultural icon, who in no small measure has made a lasting contribution to the cultural diversity and multiculturalism of Britain”.   

Mr. France came to the United Kingdom many years ago with every intention of returning to his beloved Nevis.  More than half a century later, he is still here creating history.  In his speech, High Commissioner Isaac added, “one of Mr. France’s many admirable and abiding qualities is that he knows who he is, he follows his dreams, and he is not afraid to make waves- even if it upsets the status quo.”  Arthur France’s childhood in Nevis helped to shape the man he would later become, and the event he co-founded – Leeds Carnival.   

Now in its 57th year, Leeds carnival is internationally known and attracts people of all backgrounds to the city.  Mr. France must be recognised for his contribution to the economic and cultural life of the city of Leeds through the annual hosting of Leeds Carnival.   

High Commissioner Isaac concluded “today we celebrate the achievements and legacy of Mr. Arthur France MBE.  Thank you for your ideas, determination, and stick-to-itiveness.  On behalf of a proud Government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis and the High Commission in London, and my own behalf; we thank you, Arthur France MBE.”

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