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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 February 2007, 10:35 GMT
Minster hosts Wilberforce service
William Wilberforce
Wilberforce was elected as MP for Hull in 1780
The Archbishop of York led a service at York Minster on Sunday to commemorate the life of anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce.

Dr John Sentamu paid tribute to the former Hull MP to mark the 200th anniversary of the aboliton of the slave trade in the then British Empire.

The service included a performance by the choir of Pocklington school in East Yorks, which Wilberforce attended.

Some of Wilberforce's descendants were be among the hundreds at the service.

An exhibition entitled Free At Last, which tells the story of Yorkshire's involvement in the stave trade, also opened at the minster on Sunday.

'Tremendous scene'

The Dean of York, the Very Rev Keith Jones, said the event was the first of many celebrations, both regional and national, in 2007, and the Minster was the right place to start them off.

"William Wilberforce was an MP for Yorkshire for many years," he said.

"Although Hull is rightly proud of its son, our Minster service will give thanks for a great Yorkshireman and parliamentarian, who worked for years to bring an act for the abolition of the slave trade.

"On the night of February 23/24 1807, the Bill received its second reading in the House of Commons.

"It was a tremendous scene when at 4am, after a long debate, Wilberforce was cheered to the echo and tears streamed down his face."


SEE ALSO
Britain's role in the slave trade
27 Nov 06 |  UK Politics
'Great' victory for Wilberforce
21 Mar 04 |  Humber

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