Sunday People

‘Subnormal’ lad became a Sir



NEARLY 300 jobs are at risk from the proposed closure of a Young’s seafood factory in Grimsby, Lincs.

A total of 297 people work at the Marsden Road site, with 285 jobs affected.

Owner Sofina Food Europe said the factory was “no longer financiall­y sustainabl­e” and added it would consult with staff and unions over the losses.

WRAPPED up in newspaper and string by his aunt to keep him warm on the boat from Jamaica, 14-year-old Geoffrey Palmer was to prove a gift for Britain

It was 1955 and he was joining his dressmaker mother Ivy who had travelled here ahead of her two sons in 1951. They lived in a one-room attic in Islington – and Geoffrey soon encountere­d racism.

“I’d get off the Tube and have three or four boys chasing me down the road,” he says.

He was being deemed “educationa­lly subnormal” in a school test. But the bright lad got into grammar school because of his cricketing skills and went on to become Scotland’s first black professor, winning an OBE and then a knighthood for his work in grain science – revolution­ising the brewing process – and his human rights and charity work.

Sir Geoffrey recalls being rejected by every university until a kind teacher helped him get into Leicester to study botany in

1964. When he applied for a Masters he was told to “go back to where you come from and sell bananas”.

Undeterred, he went on to win a PHD in Grain Science and Technology. “I had to be very good and innovative at what I did to get promoted,” says Sir Geoff who now lives in Edinburgh. He remains a leading human rights activist and speaks passionate­ly about Windrush. “Black people were made to feel inferior and it was unjust,” he says.

“A diverse society needs diverse management to be fair and efficient. We are one humanity nothing less.”

Prof Palmer. Above, with mum

 ?? ?? KNIGHTED ‘FIRST’ INNINGS Roland says he ‘opened door’ ‘BAD WORDS’ Hermel then, on left, and, inset, now
KNIGHTED ‘FIRST’ INNINGS Roland says he ‘opened door’ ‘BAD WORDS’ Hermel then, on left, and, inset, now

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