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Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Monday, 26 July 2010 16:51 UK
Church honours anti-slavery campaigner Thomas Clarkson
Thomas Clarkson
Thomas Clarkson spent the last 30 years of his life at Playford

Suffolk's anti-slavery campaigner Thomas Clarkson is being remembered on a special day of prayers.

Clarkson, who lived at Playford near Ipswich, gathered much of the evidence for the campaign which led to the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, 1807.

The Church of England has added his name to a list which already included the 'face' of the campaign - William Wilberforce, MP.

Clarkson's local church is celebrating his role on Friday, 30 July, 2010.

Clarkson was born in Wisbech and later lived in Bury St Edmunds and Playford, where he lived on a 340 acre farm.

His research included the creation of the iconic 'Brookes slave ship' diagram which was shown to Parliament.

During his campaigning, he was physically attacked by pro-slavery sailors in Liverpool who benefitted from the transport of people from Africa to the Americas via British ports.

Thomas Clarkson's 'Brookes' diagram of a slave ship
Clarkson's 'Brookes' diagram showed how slaves were packed into ships

A 'lesser festival'

In 2010, the General Synod of the Church of England passed a recommendation that Clarkson's name be added to the list of those already commemorated on 30 July in a day of prayer known as a 'lesser festival'.

A midday service will be held at St Mary's church in Playford and flowers will be laid at the obelisk in the churchyard which commemorates Clarkson's work.

"Thomas Clarkson certainly deserves his elevation," said Canon Pauline Stentiford of Playford, who'll be leading the prayers.

"He was one of the instigators of the anti-slavery movement and a man who worked hard behind the scenes for the cause.

"He lived in the shadow of William Wilberforce and has been largely overlooked."

Although the slave trade was outlawed in 1807, it didn't mean emancipation for existing slaves.

Clarkson and Wilberforce were among the co-founders of the Anti-Slavery Society which was founded in 1823.

Slavery became illegal in the majority of the British Empire with the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833.

In 2007, the BBC ran a series commemorating the 200th anniversary of the end of the slave trade called Abolition .



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