Dancing Windrush pensioner from Sneinton dreaming of traveling to Jamaica one last time

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A report by Jamie Barlow for Nottinghamshire Live.

Known for his dancing exploits in Nottingham city centre, 89-year-old Albert Johnson is determined to fly-out to Jamaica for the first time in decades to try and find long lost family.

Mr Johnson, who was part of the Windrush generation, came to the UK in the 1950s to help rebuild the country and work following the Second World War.

A retired painter and decorator, Mr Johnson, known locally as Pretty, came over on his own and is not thought to have any children.

Mr Johnson, who lives with his carer, has not been over to Jamaica since 1974.

To mark his 90th birthday in April, Mr Johnson and his carer hoping to raise money for a final trip to Jamaica.

The idea is he may be able to find long lost family.

Albert Johnson, now 89, dancing at home in Sneinton.
Albert Johnson, now 89, dancing at home in Sneinton. 

Mr Johnson said the trip would mean a great deal to him “to go and see them (family) and have a look at it (the country) again one more time”.

Having previously lived in a warden-aided flat in Ilkeston Road, Radford, he hit the headlines in 2018 when captured on camera dancing to a busker in the city centre.

After falling ill, he was taken in several years ago by Nottingham City Hospital carer Bettina Scott, 57, otherwise known as Betty.

Ms Scott, of Sneinton Hollows, Sneinton, said: “I would love to see Pretty’s face when we reach that airport, it’s for him to see places he talks about.”

After securing indefinite leave to remain status and his British passport, he and Ms Scott hope to travel to Jamaica for a fortnight in July time.

Bettina Scott and Albert Johnson .
Bettina Scott and Albert Johnson . 

Ms Scott, who herself came over from Jamaica in 2001, added: “He will be 90 in April. It will be so good. It will be like two in one: because he will be going back seeing the country of his birth and everything.

“Plus if we can find any family members for him that would be a bonus.”

However, the trip depends on funds and an online fundraising page has been set up going towards the cause.

It was launched by international lawyer Sibon Phiri, 32, who said: “Now that Albert can finally leave the country after getting his British passport last year, he has mentioned to Betty several time his desire to visit Jamaica at least one last time.

“Due to him being a pensioner and living with Betty, he cannot afford the trip and neither can Betty.

“We want him to fulfil his dream while he still can as we don’t know what the future holds.

“Albert is well-known in Nottingham but, despite that, during the most difficult time in his life, only Betty was there for him and took him in.

“For someone who is well-known in the city and came to the UK to help build the country after the Second World War like so many, but to be let down by the system, it’s only fair from a humanitarian side to help fulfil his dream.

“Which for many may not mean much but for him it’ll mean everything.”

A statement on the page adds: “Forty-five years since visiting Jamaica, and Albert’s dream is to visit his homeland one last time and to reconnect with any family members that may still be alive.

“Betty thinks he may have a sister who is still alive but, with his memory starting to fade and no information on his family history, we want to organise a trip to Jamaica for him reconnect his roots and find out as much as we can about his family.”

Money can be donated to the page by clicking here.

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