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.

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