Links between Olney, England and Newton, Sierra Leone
John Newton (1725 – 1807) was an Englishman who was “press ganged” into the Royal Navy. He later became captain of a slave ship and certainly worked from, and possibly lived on, Bunce Island, a major slave fort, close to Freetown, Sierra Leone.
He was nearly killed in a bad storm at sea and decided to repent and totally change his life. He became ordained as an evangelical Anglican cleric, serving the town of Olney in Buckinghamshire. He is known for writing the very famous hymn ‘Amazing Grace’…..’which saved a wretch like me’.
Whilst in Olney, he became great friends with the poet, William Cowper (visit the Cowper and Newton Museum, Olney). They became prominent supporters of abolitionism – stopping the African Slave Trade. Working with friends such as politician William Wilberforce, they made a huge contribution towards the passing of the Slave Trade Act 1807 and the abolition of slavery.
In recognition of this, a town just outside of the capital city of Freetown, Sierra Leone, was named after Newton. There have been strong links between the towns of Newton and Olney for many years. Recognising the challenges that are faced by the population of Sierra Leone, one of the poorest countries in the World, the Olney Newton Link is doing as much as possible to work in partnership with and give support to the residents of Newton.
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You will see from our Projects page that we have a number of different projects ongoing. These include the building of a new Preschool (primarily to help the orphans of the Ebola crisis) and support for a new tailoring/dressmaking business to help train young people.
These projects are well underway but we need your help. Do you have any of the following lying around the house, which could be better loved in Sierra Leone? We need:
Sewing machines in good working order
- Dictionaries and thesaurus suitable for young people
- Toys suitable for a preschool/playgroup
- New jackets with hoods, jumpers/cardigans and coats, suitable for 2 to 5 yr olds please. They are for the children to wear over their uniforms, so need to be fit for purpose.
If you can help please contact either Anne – 01234 711215 –firstname.lastname@example.org or Rachel – 01234 711751 –email@example.com and we’ll forward them on to those who need them.