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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Read more about John Newton here
A new dressmaking business!
You may remember that we recently had a request for help from our friend Brima James Kabia in Newton. He wanted to set up a dressmakers/tailoring business for young people who had missed out on education. He asked for manual and electric sewing machines plus a small generator and we were delighted that, with the help of the charity ‘Workaid’, we were able to send them.
Brima James Kabia has recently sent us these photos of the tutor testing the machines, and our friend Mariatu, working the pedals. It has been suggested that they start the enterprise with five pupils, and they are hoping for more. More electric sewing machine are wanted but it seems that things are progressing well.