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Growing Up ‘Outside The Bubble’ In Southend-On-Sea

In 1997, my family moved to Southend-on-Sea, a modest seaside town in south east Essex. The part of the county without TFL (Transport for London) and in its place, an unreliable bus service. This was partly due to my dad being a doctor. We’d moved around the country a lot and in Southend, we were probably one of two black families at the time. No, seriously. I remember the stares that I would get from people. For many of my classmates, I knew that I was the first black person that they’d met.

During primary school, I began building a solid reputation by excelling in sport. I went on playdates and to birthday parties in church halls or soft play centres and I would occasionally go to parties at the marine activity centre where I’d have the pleasure of riding a banana boat or jet ski on the Thames Estuary. But I remember feeling different for the first time during a lesson, when we watched a