This unedited interview was conducted during the Covid-19 lockdown and took place via MS Teams video on Tuesday, 5th May 2020. The interviewee, Alift Harewood MBE, was born in Kitty, British Guiana (now Guyana) in 1934. She was brought up in the rural village of Anna Catherina by her maternal grandmother from the age of 3 following the tragic deaths of her mother during childbirth, and her father, just ten months later, in a gold mining accident. As her grandmother was to observe Alift was ambitious and had no intention of settling into the domestic worker role most commonly taken up by women from her background. On moving to Georgetown, the capital of British Guiana, she became a nurse, married and had three children.
In 1965 she travelled by ship to England. After a few false starts, she qualified as a SRN nurse. Since the hospital refused to pay her a commensurate salary, she retrained as a mid-wife. Alift returned to British Guiana on receiving news of her husband’s unexpected death. Unable to find employment, her stay was short. In 1968 she headed back to the UK with her three children. On re-entry she was advised that her no-time-limit passport was no longer valid. She was granted a 12-month pass on production of her SRN badge and later revoked her Guyanese nationality [British Guiana having become independent in 1966) in order to re-register as British. Alift practiced as an agency nurse for 59 years. She has a BSc in Social Science, a BA in Contemporary Theatre, and a MA in International Politics. She has served as Mayor of Macclesfield twice (2012-2013 and 2016-2018). In 2016 she was awarded a MBE for her contribution to community and in 2018 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Guyana High Commission.