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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The Arrival of Cartons from the UK
We are pleased to say that James Kabia has received the cartons that we have sent which contained sports equipment, electric sewing machines, calculators and books.
He sent this message and photos:
I send you greetings from the people of KPOUBU-NEWTON Village in the most redemptive name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I have just done the donation/distribution to the children and the young people of KPOUBU-NEWTON Village.
On my behalf and on the behalf of the people of KPOUBU-NEWTON, I register our appreciation for your relentless efforts in promoting our people and putting smiles on the faces of our people. Extend our appreciation to the Dewey’s. My colleagues in the pastoral ministry are grateful for the books. We are using them on rotational
basis as the need arises. Once more thank you. Stay blessed. James Kabia