COMING SOON ON TONY TOKUNBO FERNANDEZ SHOW – INTERVIEW WITH MP CHI ONWURAH, MP FOR NEWCASTLE CENTRAL , WATCH THIS SPACE
CLICK ON THE LINK TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MP ONWURAH
I was born in Wallsend, grew up on Hillsview Avenue in Kenton and went to Kenton School before studying Electrical Engineering in London. I have lived in many different cities around the world, without ever for a moment forgetting where I am from: Newcastle. My values and beliefs were formed in Newcastle based on the people I grew up with and my own experiences.
My maternal grandfather was a sheet metal worker in the shipyards of the Tyne during the depression. My mother grew up in poverty in Garth Heads on the quayside. In the fifties she married my father, a Nigerian student at Newcastle Medical School. In 1965 I was born, whilst they were living in Long Benton where my father had a dental practise. I was still a baby when my father took us to live in Awka, Nigeria. But two years later the Biafran Civil War broke out bringing famine with it and, as described vividly in an Evening Chronicle article in 1968, my mother, my brother and sister and I returned as refugees to Newcastle, whilst my father stayed on in the Biafran army.
This early experience of the impact of war on ordinary families left me with a strong sense of my own good fortune in living in a peaceful parliamentary democracy where it is possible to bring about change without taking up the gun or the sword. I am not a pacifist, I believe that our country is worth defending and fighting for. But we do live in a democracy and, increasingly, there are international institutions at the European and global level to enable us to pursue and defend our legitimate interests through debate and discussion.
I benefited from a comprehensive, inspirational and free education for which I will always be grateful. I attended Hillsview nursery, infants and junior schools. A good start in a good school is critical in determining a child’s experience of education and the opportunities that it can bring. At Hillsview I learnt to enjoy learning, and to think that anything was possible. My mother made sure I understood how lucky I was to be able to walk two hundred yards to a great school when some children had to walk for hours to share a classroom with a hundred others.
At 11 I went to Kenton Comprehensive School. I studied for my O and A levels, but also played for our netball and hockey teams, had my first taste of public speaking and learnt to play the saxophone moderately badly. My education enabled me to hold my own with people from every walk of life, and to earn my living doing something I love, engineering. I want every child in Newcastle to have that opportunity. When I was 17 I was elected Kenton School’s MP in a mock election.
SOURCE – MP CHI ONWURAH WEBSITE
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