When the Empire Windrush passenger ship docked at Tilbury, east London, from Jamaica on June 22 in 1948, it marked the beginning of a new era of Britain.

Residents across the Commonwealth countries were urged to move to Britain to help rebuild the nation after the Second World War.

But despite the call, their right to be here and their valuable contribution to society, many faced hardships of discrimination and encountered horrific incidents of racism.

As Monday marked 72 years since Windrush Day, The Gazette interviewed one of the leading voices on diversity in Basingstoke - the well-known Grace Powell, who has been a prominent figure on the town's multicultural forum.

The chair of Basingstoke Caribbean Society said it is "so important" to pay tribute to the Windrush generation and said they will be marking the day later this year for Black History Month.

"Celebrating Windrush is very important, as is celebrating Black History Month. Everything I had learned about my culture has been self-taught. At school it was the Tudors and not much else.

Grace explained: "I think it's really important for the future generations. They need to know their history to have that inner self-identity that is required to co-exist. Knowing about your heritage keeps you feeling proud."

She said: "If you are from the Caribbean, you don't fight your brother or sister. It matters to me that we have that sense of identity because as much as I would like to say racism doesn't exist in Basingstoke, having lived in Basingstoke since 1975 and having watched us grow, I know people of colour still face discrimination."

But she said there was some great work being done by Basingstoke Multicultural Forum, which brings together the vibrant and diverse communities that live alongside one another in town.

She said: "Being a part of this forum has been so valuable. We feel we are very much all in this together, united on a wider level."

Reflecting on the current conversation about the anti-racism movement which has sparked conversations both locally and nationally, Grace said more work is needed.

Highlighting an upsetting example of modern-day racism, Grace recounted an incident last year where she was verbally abused by a motorist in Basingstoke.

A furious driver shouted,"go back to your own country" as she was driving under the railway bridge.

The retired diversity officer, who has worked for councils in Basingstoke and Surrey, said the comment left her extremely upset.

Speaking to The Gazette, she said: "I was driving under the railway bridge. There is a stop sign for oncoming traffic. As we passed under, we were turning left, and the car coming towards me stopped.

"The man shouted, 'Go on, get out and go back to your own country'."

"I've lived here since I was ten. This is my home," she said. The grandmother, 71, reported the incident to the police but didn't manage to get down his number plate.

She said: "I said to him, 'Excuse me, I am sorry you have driving problems."I was not going to wind up that unlearned gentleman.

"But that is why it is so important for me and others to know our history. This is my home. I deserve to be here. But comments like that are not uncommon."

Reflecting on everyday microaggressions, where minorities are subjected to subtle but harmful comments, Grace said she is regularly asked where she is "really" from.

She said: "There is a race element when that question is asked. I often say, 'Well I came here when I was ten.'"

Grace said she was delighted at the prospect of being reunited with her parents, when she moved to England from Jamaica. Her mother, a prominent church minister who was known in both Basingstoke and London, sadly passed away earlier this month.

"I remember feeling happy [when we first moved]. Now I was with my parents," she said. "But I will never forget walking into school on Hungerford Road for the first time, everyone was sitting their 11 plus. I was late. I will never forget children saying, 'What boat did you come in on? Go back on your banana boat."

"I wish I had said to them, 'actually I flew. I came on a plane.'"

Grace said: "We have moved on quite a lot since then] but there is still a way to go. There is still a feeling out there that people are taking other people's jobs."

Grace said the treatment of the Windrush generation where the Government began threatening or deporting descendants of the Windrush generation kept her up at night with stress.

The retired council worker, who has lived in Basingstoke since the 1970s, said: "I was in tears for two weeks. I was constantly rummaging through paperwork for my mum's and my dad's passports. My mummy was not well, I couldn't ask her questions. It was horrible.

"I kept thinking, I've got my children, my grandchildren. Everything is here. I've got my mum to look after, I've got my daughter in Worting Road. I was in a right state. I remember going to the doctors and telling my doctor, "I'm really worried". And they said, if they send you anywhere, they'll have to send me as well. And that made me feel better."

Grace lives in Basingstoke with her retired husband. She said she is attempting to step back from community roles.

The grandmother of fifteen youngsters, who live in Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton and Surrey, said: "I would like to see younger people come up and get involved and motivate the next generation."