Page last updated at 20:40 GMT, Tuesday, 5 October 2010 21:40 UK

Floella Benjamin describes delight at receiving peerage

Children's TV presenter Floella Benjamin has described her delight at becoming a member of the House of Lords 50 years after, as a new immigrant, she was spat at and told to go home.

On 5 October 2010, in her maiden speech in the Upper House, Baroness Benjamin praised the progress made in Britain since she had left her native Trinidad as a 10-year-old.

Lib Dem peer Lady Benjamin, best known as a former host of Play School, was given a peerage following May's general election and took her seat before the summer recess.

She told peers during a debate on charities: "My family motto is 'who would've thought' because you never know where life's twists and turns will take you.

"I was born in Trinidad and I came to England as a 10-year-old child 50 years ago. I was spat on, told to go back where I came from - and how differently things have turned out.

"I love being part of this establishment and as I wander around the maze of corridors soaking up the rich symbolism, I think to myself, surely I have reached the summit of life's mountain."

Lady Benjamin was one of seven peers to make maiden speeches in a debate on the role of the charitable sector in strengthening civil society.

She was joined by five Labour peers: former chief whip Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top, former justice minister Lord Wills, Baroness Sherlock, Baroness Wheeler and Lord Beecham; and a Tory, Baroness Ritchie of Brompton.

Watch the first part of the debate here.

Story Tools


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific