Kettering to begin twinning arrangements with Jamaican town

William Knibb
William Knibb

The first steps have been made to twin Kettering with a Jamaican town in honour of abolitionist William Knibb.

Kettering councillors approved the proposal last night (April 25) to twin the town with Falmouth, which was the adopted home of Kettering’s most famous son.

Knibb was a baptist minister who fought for the emancipation of Jamaica’s African slaves in the 1830s. His life was threatened and his church set on fire as he became a thorn in the side of the island’s plantation owners. In 1834 slavery was abolished in the British Empire and came in to effect in 1838.

Speaking at the full council meeting Cllr Philip Hollobone, who is also the town’s MP, said he had visited Falmouth in September and met with the town’s mayor.

He said: “One of the things I would like to see come from a twinning arrangement is an exchange of students. I am certain that we can find some money somewhere to bring this about.”

Cllr Mick Scrimshaw, who seconded the proposal, said: “Maybe it was a quirk of fate that such a great man happened to be born almost a stone’s throw from this chamber, but I for one am proud he was. Am proud of his achievements, and hope that nearly 200 years later, the residents of Kettering maintain his hatred of oppression and his belief in freedom and equality.”

Cindy Wrighting, a youth worker at the William Knibb Centre in Montagu Street, said the proposal was very welcome and would hopefully lead to links with Falmouth’s high school, which is named after Knibb and was attended by Olympian Usain Bolt.

Kettering Mayor Scott Edwards will now write to Falmouth to begin the twinning arrangements.

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