NWJS Annual Reports
2018 was another successful year:
NORTH WALES JAMAICA SOCIETY Annual Report Dec 2108
The North Wales Jamaica Society committee have continued to meet during the year, noting progress and activity needed as we work in line with our aims. NWJS has continued to support Race Council Cymru with Black History Month and Black History Cymru 365, and also supported Learning Links International on the development of the Jamaica Wales Alliance, and the development of the Bangor / May Pen link and other activities and events.
On Saturday 24/2/18 NWJS and the Jamaica Wales Alliance teamed up to hold a Jamaica Links Coffee Morning at Penrhyn Hall, with a welcome by the Mayor of Bangor, Cllr Derek Hainge, recognising the links now being forged between May Pen in Jamaica and the City of Bangor. Maggie’s delicious Peanut Porridge was very much enjoyed. Dr Marian Gwyn spoke about the shared history and developing the links.
On Friday 22/6/18 the NWJS organised a special event on to recognise the 70th Anniversary of the landing of the Windrush in 1948 and we held an event in Bangor Town Hall with Mary Stennett as guest of honour. This was attended by the Mayor of Bangor and a range of local people.
Following the visit last year by members of the North Wales Jamaica Society to the Jamaican High Commission, His Excellency Seth George Ramocan, the Jamaican High Commissioner, his wife and the JHC Community Relations Officer, accepted the invitation to tour Wales for 3 days in August, with a request to help them develop a stronger links in South Wales.
The visit was co-ordinated as part of the Jamaica Wales Alliance activities and the NWJS gave active support for the visit to Bangor, as well as supporting the delegation’s visit to the Denbigh Show. This was very much appreciated and gave confidence to the JHC of our active role in support of the Jamaica Wales Alliance.
We were also able to successfully support them to meet Jamaicans in South Wales as part of the tour as requested by the JHC. Following this we have been supporting the development of a group in South Wales with a Jamaican focus and “South Wales Jamaica Society” has now had two meetings and is looking to mirror many of the NWJS objectives
The North Wales Jamaica Society have also supported Race Council Cymru in a transition to take the active role in bringing together a range of local organisations and groups to support the organisation and management of the North West Wales Black History Month. To make this happen we worked closely with the RCC Co-ordinator, Dr Marian Gwyn, Head of Heritage for RCC, who is also a member of the NWJS committee.
Over the years the NWJS has supported Black History Month with the programme and this year was no exception. A successful evening was held at Penrhyn Hall on Monday 27/10/18 with visiting author Terry Breverton who spoke about “Welsh Pirates and Privateers”. Terry was active in helping to get the SWJS up and running, but has had to step back currently.
On Saturday 3/11/18 NWJS organised an open event to remember the great work of Enrico Stennett, and the support of his wife, Mary Stennett, who was active in working to get better recognition of his achievements. The film “Mr Magic Feet” was shown, in which he tells the story of the challenges faced and achievements made by the West Indians who came to Britain to help after the Second World War. Enrico was recognised as an “Icon of Black Wales” by Race Council Cymru this year.
Mary attended NWJS meetings regularly but seemed to becoming frail, she also supported the development of the Jamaica Wales Alliance. Sadly Mary died unexpectedly later in August, but she had been presented to the High Commissioner and she knew her efforts to ensure Enrico has been recognised had succeeded. We were also able to nominate Enrico for recognition in the Jamaican High Commissioner’s 500 Jamaicans, as one of those who were active and made such a difference to the lives of so many in the Windrush Generation. We will miss Mary as she was a good friend of the NWJS and she always inspired us to try harder. NWJS were able to attend her funeral.
As a main 2018 BHM event, the NWJS gained support from the Arts Council and RCC to put on an Irie Pesda reggae event on Friday 9/11/18 and we were delighted to welcome Macka B back to Nueadd Ogwen in Bethesda, supported by local group, Banda Bacana However this was not as financially successful as last year, possibly because of the awful weather and the fact the promoter had given little support.
The North Wales Jamaica Society continues to support the efforts of Learning Links International and Rotary International with the Pennants Schools Refurbishment Project. Progress is slow in getting the quotes needed to apply for funds.
The NWJS takes every opportunity to meet up and keep in touch with people from Jamaica and people with Jamaican connections, we met some of Enrico and Mary’s friends at Mary’s funeral and we also
Thanks to everyone who has been involved in our activities this year.
Special thanks this year to Dr Marian Gwyn for her efforts and support for taking a lead in writing the RCC Arts Council bid, as well as the presentations and promotions she has done.
“She may be little, but she’s talawah!*”. *Talawah means “strong” in Jamaican”.
John Wyer, Chair, North Wales Jamaica Society
Liz Millman, Secretary, North Wales Jamaica Society