‘Amazing Grace’ 250th anniversary celebrations planned for June 16

Piperjames next to the grave of John Newton who wrote the words of Amazing Grace in 1772. The grave of John and Mary Newton is in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England

This year is the 250th anniversary of one of the world’s most loved songs – Amazing Grace.

James McGowan – better known as PiperJames – an accomplished bagpiper and a Western Cape Mighty Men leader, recently called on Capetownians to participate in an Amazing Grace celebration at Ratanga Park, Century City, from 10.15 to 11.30am on Youth Day – Friday June 16.

He has also challenged other cities and towns to host Amazing Grace events on Youth Day. The challenge is to assemble groups of 250 or more people to sing Amazing Grace together to celebrate the anniversary of the hymn which is sung an estimated 10 million times a year around the world. Piperjames also asks groups to video themselves singing on Youth Day and to email the footage to him at piperjames@live.com. He will send the footage to the Olney Museum in Buckinghamshire, which is coordinating the challenge internationally.

He said that during a visit to the museum earlier this year he discovered that many nations were already on board but South Africa was missing. John Newton, a former slave trader who became a pastor, wrote the words of Amazing Grace in Olney in 1772 in which he marvelled at God’s saving grace towards a sinner like himself.

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Deon Haasbroek, right, co-host of an Amazing Grace celebration event in East London on June 16. With him are, from the left, his son, JP; Trienkie, his wife and his daughter Michaela Lee.

Border Mighty Men organisers Deon Haasbroek and Phillip Doubell have accepted the Amazing Grace challenge and are organising a celebration in East London at the Cove, next to Nahoon Dam from 10.30am to 11:15 on Youth Day. Deon said about 2 000 young people attending a youth camp at the Cove next weekend will attend the celebration. He believes a total of more than 3 000 people will attend the event. Deon can be contacted at deonhs-brk@gmail.com

Anybody interested in hosting an event in their area may contact Piperjames at piperjames@live.com or 082  575 8862.

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