The British Library

Jake’s Story

My Dad was born in 1961 in a small village in Cyprus. Between 1963 and 1974 civil unrest and war plagued the island. Towards the end my father witnessed the invasion of his village, as he and his siblings escaped into the surrounding farmlands. Hiding among olive trees until they were safe, until the war was over.

A few years later he was able to immigrate to the UK. He worked odd jobs until he'd saved enough money to get a business of his own and it was from there that he was able to establish himself.

What strikes me the most about my dad is his entrepreneurial ability; to arrive in a country, hardly speaking the language, leaving his friends and family behind and still manage to own and successfully run multiple businesses. Being an example of the success immigrants can bring to this country.

When I was younger I was sometimes embarrassed that my dad was an immigrant, I wished to be as 'English' as some of my peers, yet as I've grown older I began to appreciate and value my heritage. I am lucky to have such a wise Dad, who has provided for his family, and given me a unique cultural background that not many others have.

-Jake, Essex

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