2007 marks slavery law anniversary

PUBLISHED: 12:36 05 January 2007 | UPDATED: 22:28 28 May 2010

Malcolm Moss MP

Malcolm Moss MP

THE most significant historical event for the Fens in 2007 is the bicentenary celebrations for the anniversary of the passing of the law to abolish slavery. Thomas Clarkson, born in Wisbech, educated at the old Wisbech Grammar school and my old Cambridge

THE most significant historical event for the Fens in 2007 is the bicentenary celebrations for the anniversary of the passing of the law to abolish slavery.

Thomas Clarkson, born in Wisbech, educated at the old Wisbech Grammar school and my old Cambridge College, St. John's, devoted a lifetime to campaigning against the slave trade and it was his dedicated research and investigation which provided the legislators such as William Wilberforce, MP for Hull, with the ammunition to persuade Parliament to pass the Anti-Slavery Bill in 1807.

This is something of which all those with a Fenland connection can be justly proud. It is more than just the work of Parliamentarians. It is about the dedication of past generations of local people who actually changed the world for the better and we in the Fens should not be overlooked in the 'national' celebrations.

Thomas Clarkson could not have done what he did without a fine education and strong parental support.

In Fenland we have good schools and devoted teachers. Occasionally a blip occurs such as we are currently experiencing with the Queen's at Wisbech but, borrowing from Thomas Clarkson's example, nothing is impossible.

There are other exciting developments on the educational front such as the proposed new further education college for Fenland to be relocated to a brand new campus in March. This more central location will be much more helpful to students in Chatteris and Whittlesey, not to mention March itself.

It seems a bit trite to repeat the slightly discredited mantra, 'Education; Education; Education.' But even if delivery has been less than perfect the message is true.

We ignore the power of education at our peril and as Thomas Clarkson showed, a disciplined and acquisitive mind coupled with a commitment to see the job through, can really make a difference to the world.

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