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Happy 50th Independence Guyana:Saluting the country's greats

MUCH-LOVED: Norman Beaton and Carmen Munroe

TODAY, GUYANA celebrates it's 50th year of independence.

On this day in 1966, a service was held at Westminster Abbey to mark the country's newfound freedom.

The event was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Kent, who met with numerous Guyanese representatives, including nurses and soldiers.

Here, we celebrate some of the country's most well-known exports.

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NORMAN BEATON
Born in Guyana in 1934, the late actor is fondly remembered for his role as headstrong husband, father and barbershop owner Desmond Ambrose in the 90s Channel 4 comedy series Desmond’s. He also starred in the BBC series Empire Road and ITV’s The Fosters.

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CARMEN MUNROE
With a plethora of theatre roles under her belt – including Gem of the Ocean and Fabulation – Munroe is one of the founders of black British theatre company, Talawa. However, the Guyana-born, British-based actress remains best-known for her role as no-nonsense wife and mother Shirley Ambrose in Channel 4’s Desmond’s.

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RAM JOHN HOLDER
A skilled guitarist and folk singer, Holder went on to enjoy fame as an actor, most notably playing loveable lollipop man Augustus ‘Porkpie’ Grant in Channel 4’s Desmond’s. The much-loved character scored his own spin-off series, Porkpie, which first aired in 1995.

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BARONESS VALERIE AMOS
Born in Guyana, Amos was the eighth UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. In September 2015, she was appointed Director of SOAS, University of London – becoming the first black woman to lead a university in the UK.

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DAVID LAMMY
The Tottenham MP was born in north London to Guyanese parents. In 2011, the Labour MP published the book Out of the Ashes, which was his account on the causes and consequences of the August 2011 riots, which began in his north London constituency.

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RUDY NARAYAN
A former barrister and civil rights activist, Narayan published several works on legal themes, including Black Community on Trial (1976) and Black England (1977). Born in Guyana in 1938, he migrated to Britain in the 1950s and died in 1998.

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BERNIE GRANT
Born in Guyana to schoolteacher parents, the late Labour MP represented Tottenham from 1987 until his death in 2000. Well-remembered for wearing traditional African dress at the state opening of Parliament in 1996, Grant was often referred to as a black radical, and in 2007, the Bernie Grant Arts Centre was opened in his memory.

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LANCE GIBBS
Born in Guyana in 1934, Lancelot Richard Gibbs is s a former West Indies cricketer and one of the most successful spin bowlers in Test cricket history.

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COLIN BABB
The British-born author, who is of Guyanese heritage, fulfilled his life-long interest in West Indian cricket by publishing the book, They Gave the Crowd Plenty Fun: West Indian Cricket and its Relationship with the British-resident Caribbean Diaspora in 2012.

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CY GRANT
The late Guyanese actor and broadcaster is well remembered for his appearances on the BBC’s Tonight programme. Though he was a qualified barrister, the allure of acting led him to pursue the craft, leading to roles in TV dramas including Man From the Sun and Home of the Brave.

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ARIF ALI
In 1970, the Guyana-born publisher founded the renowned company Hanisb Publications – a publishing house for Caribbean, African and Asian writers, and their communities.

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JOHN AGARD
The Guyana-born, UK-based poet, playwright and children’s author has a plethora of titles under his belt, including Man to Pan, Lend Me Your Wings and We Brits. In 2012, he was selected for the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

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MARK DALGETY
Under the stewardship of an aunt, who drank herbal teas to counteract her ailments, Guyana-born Dalgety founded Dalgety Teas, a hugely successful company that offers a range of Caribbean-inspired herbal teas.

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EDDY GRANT
The Guyanese-British musician formed The Equals, who scored success with the hit Baby Come Back, originally released in 1966. The singer and guitarist went on to enjoy solo success with the songs Electric Avenue and his anti-apartheid hit, Gimme Hope Jo’anna.

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SHERRY DIXON
Multi-talented Dixon boasts credits as a make-up artist, media guru and mentor. Born in Guyana, the award-winning, UK-based businesswoman is the former editor of Pride Magazine; the founder of online networking organisation Women on the Crossroads; and is widely credited for her work as a public speaker and mentor to both established and aspiring talents.

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CLIVE LLOYD
One of the best-known names in West Indies cricket history, the Guyana-born batsman captained the West Indies between 1974 and 1985 and oversaw their rise to become a dominant Test-playing nation, with World Cup wins in 1975 and 1979.

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CHRIS LEWIS
Clairmonte Christopher Lewis is an English former cricketer, who played for Nottinghamshire, Surrey and Leicestershire in the 1990s. Born in Guyana, he came to the UK as a child and went on to play in 32 Test matches and 53 one day internationals for England from 1990 to 1998.

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SHIVNARINE CHANDERPAUL
A former cricketer and former captain of the West Indies cricket team, Guyana-born Chanderpaul was named as one of the five Cricketers of the Year by the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack in 2008, and as the player of the year by the International Cricket Council in the same year.

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LEWIS LEONA
The 2006 X-Factor winner was born in north London and her father is of Guyanese heritage. Famed for her impressive vocals, Lewis has scored success with hits including Bleeding Love and Happy.

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DENNIS ANDRIES
A British former professional boxer, the Guyana-born sportsman won the WBC light heavyweight title in 1986.

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