Caribbean twinning proposal for Kettering

William Knibb
William Knibb

Kettering could soon have a Caribbean twin town if a proposal goes ahead.

The motion to twin with Falmouth in Jamaica to celebrate the “shared heritage of the life and works of William Knibb” will be considered at Kettering’s full council meeting tomorrow (April 25).

Knibb was a Kettering-born baptist minister and missionary to Jamaica whose campaigning helped emancipate slaves in the British colonies in the mid-19th century.

Falmouth is the chief town and capital of the parish of Trelawney and is 4,668 miles away from Kettering.

The motion is being proposed by Cllr Philip Hollobone (who is also the MP for Kettering) and being seconded by Cllr Mick Scrimshaw. Both are calling on Kettering Mayor Scott Edwards to make the formal twinning invitation to Falmouth.

Cllr Scrimshaw said: “Cllr Hollobone has been thinking about the proposal for a while and when he asked if I would second the motion I was only too happy to.

“What William Knibb did 200 years ago was a big deal and should always be remembered. Importantly, this proposal does not come with a cost and there will not be delegations of councillors flying over to Jamaica.

“It would be great if over time the twinning arrangements could be run by a committee of volunteers, perhaps from the baptist church or the civic society.”

Knibb is one of Kettering’s most famous sons. Born in 1803, he went as a missionary to Jamaica in 1823, which was then a British colony. His passionate speeches against the treatment of African slaves helped lead to the abolition of slavery on the island in 1834.

Knibb died in Falmouth in 1845 aged 44 of yellow fever and on the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, he was posthumously awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit.

He is still remembered in the town with youth and education base the William Knibb Centre in Montagu Street named after him.

Legendary Olympian Usain Bolt was born in Trelawney and attended the William Knibb Memorial High School.

Kettering is currently twinned with Lahnstein in Germany and has Sister City Links with Kettering in Ohio, USA.