Black History Month: shining a light on Cumbria's diverse past

October is Black History Month, an annual celebration of the history, achievements and contributions of black people in the UK.

Perhaps surprisingly, Cumbria has a key part to play in the event across the country marking the contribution African and Caribbean cultures have made to British life.

The church at Burgh By Sands is recognised as the site of the first-ever African settlement in Britain.In 253 AD the Roman Garrison here- then called Aballava- was manned by Aurelian Moors who history shows settled and made lives here for more than 100 years.

This is just one of the stories being told in an exhibition The Rum Story Museum in Whitehaven which is designed to celebrate the county's most influential and significant black figures.

Janett Walker of Anti-Racist Cumbria and former High Sheriff Marcia Reid Fotheringham. Credit: ITV Border

One of them is former High Sheriff Marcia Reid Fotheringham, who received a guided tour from one of the organisers- Janett Walker from Anti-Racist Cumbria.

The exhibition includes Jane, who, in the 1700s, was one of the first black slaves to be buried alongside the family she served - that family being the ancestors of the first American president, George Washington.

It features many more individuals including John Kent, believed to have been Britain's first black police officer, who worked in Maryport and Carlisle in the 19th century as well as Roy Francis, the first black rugby league coach who spent part of his career at Barrow and Ms Fotheringham herself.

The organisers want black history to be seen as part of our Cumbria's collective cultural heritage.

Read more: