Watch as South Tyneside celebrates 50 years of Bangladeshi independence with special events in South Shields' Ocean Road
Events and activities took place along the street in South Shields, today (August 21) with music from local musician TRIXX, food stalls, henna and games.
Hundreds attended the events, which should have taken place in March 2021 but were delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The celebrations, which were organised by organisations working together including The Customs House, CREST, Sangini, Apna Ghar, Ocean Road Community Centre and The Bangladeshi Welfare Association, aimed to bring the community together.
A street exhibition, coordinated by art organisation The Cultural Spring, also showcased artwork by students of Hadrian and Marine Park Primary Schools.
Kowsar Choudhury, manager of the Radhuni restaurant in Ocean Road, said he hoped to see the event return each year and grow in time.
“It’s a very colourful day. We have restaurants and takeaways open serving traditional Bangladeshi food,” he said.
"We have a stage with music and dramas. We hope everyone has a good time and hopefully every year we will get bigger and better, and we need your support.
Ujjol Rahman, owner of Rahana’s Boutique in Fredrick Street, South Shields, said: “There are loads of stalls for everyone to enjoy themselves. Hopefully everyone is having a good time and hopefully we will have more of this in the near future."
Margarita Rebolledo, community engagement officer at The Customs House, said: “Today we’re here at Ocean Road celebrating the Bangladeshi community, local to South Shields but also from across South Tyneside.
"We just thought wouldn’t it be great to celebrate one of the key communities in South Tyneside that makes South Shields such a diverse place and do it in a way that would bring people’s spirits up after what has been a long, hard period.”
She added: “There has been a lot of interest from the community and people have been excited about it. There is also an exhibition by the Srijoni Women’s Group at the Customs House, the display is beautiful, it’s all about Bangladeshi culture, celebration, the environment – it’s just amazing. It’s been such a fantastic day and I feel like we’ve brought everyone together to celebrate something so important.”
Friday, March 26, marked 50 years of Bangladesh break for independence from Pakistan in 1971.
It was a process that led to the nine-month long Bangladesh Liberation War, before the country got its wish on December 16 of the same year.
During the period, settlers in South Tyneside played a significant role in highlighting their country’s independence push.
MP for South Shields Emma Lewell-Buck, who attended belated the celebrations on Sunday, said: “It’s absolutely brilliant to see Ocean Road so busy and everyone just getting involved in Bangladeshi culture.
"This event has been a long time coming, we’ve long wanted this to happen. I’m so pleased the Council, the Customs House and other partners have got together to make it happen.
"As we remember the war of independence and all the lives lost and how horrible that was, it’s also important to remember that we’re here to celebrate what came after that war, like the culture and community we have here.”