MPs pay tribute to Mandela: ‘A giant’ of a man

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Mansfield and Ashfield MPs have today paid their respects to the late Nelson Mandela.

Mansfield’s MP, Sir Alan Meale, called Mandela ‘a giant’ following the news of the 95-year-old’s death at 8.50pm local time last night (Thursday).

Sir Alan said: “Mandela is a giant. He reminds us all of the things we are capable of and sometimes don’t do. He will be very very badly missed but fondly remembered.”

The Mansfield MP campaigned for the African National Congress as bridge executive in the UK for 12 years giving speeches and marches for the Anti Apartheid Movement.

Both Mansfield District Council and Ashfield District Council join the world in mourning today as the authorities announce that they will be flying their flags at half mast.

Mandela is known as a humanitarian hero world-wide for his role in fighting South Africa’s apartheid and his continuing fight for peace and freedom.

He was a Nobel Peace Prize winner and pledged his support to the Help Make Poverty History campaign among countless others.

Ashfield MP, Gloria De Piero, said no words can sum up the impact Mandela had on the world.

“Any words I say about him seem inadequate in comparison to his legacy and the profound impact he had on the world, so I’d like to remember him in his own words.

“‘No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion.

“‘People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite’

“That’s why he is one of the greatest people to have lived and why he’ll be remembered for centuries to come,” She said.

A book of condolences will be available at the Civic Centre in Mansfield today and Monday so that people can pay their respects to the man who was named ‘the unofficial president of the world’ in 2005.

Ashfield District Council will also be lowering its flag to half mast, mimicking thousands of other council’s around the country.

Born in 1918, Mandela led the apartheid movement despite spending 27 years in jail until 1994.

His friends and followers remembered this morning that things could have been very different if he had come out a bitter man.

It is believed Mandela will be buried in Qunu, the small village where he grew up, after his funeral in just over a week’s time.

Mansfield District Council’s book of condolences will be made available in the Civic Centre for mourners to sign until 4.30pm today and 9am to 5pm on Monday 9th December to Thursday 12th December.

The tributes will then be sent on to the South African Commission in London.