Saturday, February 17, 2007

Hastings Sierra Leone twins with Hastings, UK

The United Kingdom’s Hastings at East Sussex and Sierra Leone’s Hastings yesterday 14th February 2007 held an official twinning ceremony of the two at the Sierra Leone Hastings village in the far east of the capital city’s suburbs some 14 miles away from Freetown.

Councillor Eve Martin displaying the twinning charter with the Hastings town headman Mr. Joshua Douglas

Chairman of the ceremony Mr. Clifford Roberts, who in his opening remarks thanked both the members of the two Hastings for the invaluable efforts they have contributed towards the development of the people of Hastings, Sierra Leone.

Headman, Mr. Douglas signing the twinn charter onbehalf of the Hastings Community in Sierra Leone

Councillor Eve Martin, a British Conservative Councilor and her team, on behalf of the British Hastings Mayor Maureen Charlesworth of Hastings, UK who was unavoidably absent, thanked the people of Hastings, Sierra Leone for their hospitality. Councillor Martin assured the Hastings Community of their continuous support

Councillor Eve Martin Deputy Mayor of Hastings, East Sussex UK and Mayor W.B. Johnson of Freetown exchange gifts

Another member of the British Parliament, Hon. Michael Forster also expressed similar sentiments whilst Councilor Peter Pragnell stated that the twinning ceremony yesterday came about through the relentlessness effort of one time British soldier Mr. Wayne Addy, who worked alongside British Forces to bring about political stability in the country.

Permanent Secretary Local Government Ministry Alhaji Baniyillah Sisay on the high table with Delegates

Mr. Wayne Addy who himself also came from Hastings East Sussex in the United Kingdom on his return after the end of his duty in Sierra Leone went around his colleagues in the Hastings in the UK. Another member of the UK delegation was Mr. Roger Mitchell who also hailed Wayne Addy.

Hastings, East Sussex UK Deputy Mayor, Councillor Eve Martin Turning the concrete on the multi-purpose complex at Hastings Sierra Leone

Over the past few years, LOAF, a local Christian charity in Hastings, Britain, raised £30,000 to replace 13 bridges in Hastings Sierra Leone which had been damaged or destroyed during the Civil War there.

Councillor Eve signing the twinn charter

They were designed by local engineer Derek Tomblin, who is now chairman of the twinning group. Links have also been established between seven schools in the two towns, and links are also developing between medical agencies, the Police, and Fire service in the namesake towns.

Group of elders

LOAF is now over half way towards raising funds for a Resource Centre, expected to cost around £100,000. This will include a post office, bank, IT training suite and various offices, etc. At the moment people have to walk 15 miles for their mail or to get to a bank and there are no computer facilities in the town. The ceremony ended with the laying of the foundation stone and the pouring of libation at the proposed site.

Primary School Children entertaining the audience

Meanwhile, in Britain’s Hastings, internet reports state that Mayor Maureen Charlesworth, held a special coffee morning in Hastings Town Hall, to mark the event at the same time.

Link to Hastings Sierra Leone twins with Hastings, UK: Sierra Leone News