By Ian Dipple 07/08 Updated: 07/08 17:55
A RELAUNCHING of the link between Redditch and its twin town St Elizabeth has marked 50 years of Jamaican independence from British rule.
Caribbean Roots Connection (CRC) held an event at Redditch Town Hall on Monday (August 6) to not only celebrate the momentous occasion for the West Indian island but also highlight renewed efforts being made to strengthen the relationship between the two towns.
Although Redditch has been twinned with St Elizabeth, where most of the borough's Caribbean community come from, since 2006 the recent return to the area of Redditch resident Veronica Allen has provided an opportunity to reinvigorate the relationship.
Attempts are being made to set-up a visit to Jamaica by a party of Redditch residents as well as create links between hospitals, schools, councils and the ex-pat community from the borough.
Christine Williams-Bossa, twinning co-ordinator for CRC, said it was not only about strengthening the relationship between the two towns but also promote understanding between the generations.
"It's vital because if they form links you will find over the next few years there is a legacy that is left behind for this community and for the community back in St Elizabeth," she said.
"For instance if we can get a link between two high schools then we can get students sharing ideas and probably they will realise they are not so dissimilar and also when people leave here and go back to Jamaica it will not be a big culture shock for them because they would of had ties they would have built up."
Former Mayor Madge Tillsley MBE gave a passionate speech saying life had been hard for those who had first arrived in England from Jamaica but praised the efforts of Ron and Betty Passingham, Eric Treadgold and Walter Stranz for setting up the Redditch Commonwealth Countries Association to help people integrate into the town.
"They befriended us, they were there for us and because of them we wanted to put something back into the community," she said.
"Our motto is out of many one people and we find it here in Redditch. Some of us are light skinned, some of us are ebony and some are half and half but we are one community and we live in harmony and peace.
"When we came here in the 1950s and 60s we were members of the Commonwealth and we called England the mother country. The Queen has always been our Queen.
"We came here as black Britons, not immigrants, our passports were stamped with British subjects. We are British Jamaicans and proud of it."
Hanif McIntosh, Free Church chaplain at HMP Hewell, added: "I'm glad to be here and see how a tiny island of 2.5million people has given so much - preachers, teachers, doctors, nurses, politicians, farmers - and how we can share ourselves with the world, so it really is big up Jamaica."
OLYMPIC BMX events will be shown in style
TRIBUTES have been paid to a 'gentle giant'
A MAN has been left with life-threatening injuries
A WOMAN was flashed at while riding her
A Bromsgrove nursery is one of three under investigation after ...
TELEVISION presenter Jim Rosenthal joined more than 100 people to ...
YOUNGSTERS in Bidford were banking on people's generosity to help ...