Pride Of Britain: A Windrush Special: Prince of Wales pays tribute to to Yorkshire Windrush cricket pioneer Alford Gardner at his home in Leeds
William visited 97-year-old Alford Gardner at his home in Leeds, West Yorkshire, for ITV’s Pride Of Britain: A Windrush Special documentary, before taking him to Headingley cricket ground to a surprise celebration with cricketing stars.
The prince, who praised Mr Gardner’s “positive spirit”, said: “We are here because of one person, who changed the lives of so many.”
Mr Gardner set the club up in 1948 – three months after arriving in the UK on HMT Empire Windrush from Jamaica.
He was among the first of the Windrush generation – people who travelled to the UK between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries, answering Britain’s call to help fill post-war labour shortages – to arrive.
The documentary marks the 75th anniversary of the Windrush generation this year.
Mr Gardner was joined at Headingley by friends, family and famous cricketing names, including Darren Gough.
He bowled at William, who urged him: “Easy ball, easy ball Alford. Be gentle.”
The prince added: “Oh, he’s got it.”
Mr Gardner joked: “I can’t remember the last time I bowled a ball.”
William quizzed him on how the club had got started, asking: “Was there any other cricket clubs up here when you arrived?”
Mr Gardner replied: “Yeah, but I wanted a West Indian team. We started working on it. Some lads still in the RAF came up. Lads from Manchester came across … so they get a team together.
“The main thing was to have fun.”
William asked: “Were you a bowler or a batsman, or both?”
Mr Gardner replied: “I tried everything. I wouldn’t say I was good at anything.”
The prince described the club as acting as a “hub” for people in the area, saying: “You have such a positive spirit, has that always been you?”
Mr Gardner chuckled: “Always been me.”
Former England and Yorkshire cricketer Gough paid tribute to his legacy, saying: “Growing up and playing cricket in Yorkshire, everyone knew about the Caribbean Cricket Club.
“To set up something that’s lasted that test of time is an amazing testament to Alford himself and with the turnout today – his family and representatives from the West Indies team and from the England team past and present – it shows how well he’s regarded in cricket.”