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 Dressmaking/Tailoring Future for Young People
We have recently had a request from our friend Brima James Kabia in Newton. He would like to set up a dressmakers/tailoring business for young people who have missed out on education. He has asked for manual sewing machines and an electric one plus a small generator. We are delighted to say that a charity based in Chesham – ‘Workaid’ – has supplied us with an electric sewing machine plus an assortment of accessories all free of charge (see photograph). So all the Olney Newton Link need to do is pay shipping costs. The manual machines can be purchased in Sierra Leone.
We are looking forward to receiving photos of the workshop in due course – we know it will be a very successful little business and are looking forward to watching it develop.