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Lyme Regis messages of tribute for Nelson Mandela
2:00pm Friday 13th December 2013 in Lyme Regis
RESIDENTS of Lyme Regis will be able to pay their own personal tribute to worldwide icon Nelson Mandela – which will be taken to London and be part of the UK’s tribute.
Carl Salter is inviting people from Lyme Regis and from west Dorset to sign a tribute book dedicated to Nelson Mandela. He will stand outside the Three Cups hotel from 10.30am until 1pm every day until Saturday.
He will then take the book and a specially designed banner to South Africa House in London, after the funeral of the icon has taken place on Sunday.
Mr Salter said: “He was a man who endured the greatest adversity and yet managed to change not only people’s rights so that everyone was treated equally, but also people’s opinions and their views on racism.
“When he went on to the pitch at the rugby world cup final in 1995, that was amazing because rugby had been a symbol of the white rule and the apartheid in South Africa.
“He had a knack of being able to teach all sorts of people and question why they had these prejudices.”
The freedom fighter lost his fight for life on Thursday, December 5 at 6.50pm after a long battle with a lung infection and passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at his Johannesburg home.
Mr Salter, who said Nelson Mandela was one of his all time heroes, said he had seen first hand what Mandela was fighting for when he went to South Africa.
Mr Salter added: “I went to South Africa as part of the merchant navy in the 1960s and it was so inhumane.
“We came across bus stops that had signs for “white people only” and train stations for “blacks only” plus doctor surgeries that wouldn’t treat people because of the colour of their skin and it was disgusting.
“Then there was the peaceful protest the Africa National Congress held, when thousands were shot and Mandela said the only way he was going to bring about change was to use the force that was being used against them.
“That experience really touched me, and I think it is important to remember not only what change Mandela helped bring about, but what he stood for as a person.”
To sign the book, go to the Three Cups Hotel on Broad Street between 10.30am and 1pm from today until Saturday.
Mr Salter is also inviting people to go to London with him to deliver the book, and for more information contact Carl Slater on 01297 443334.
* Chairman of the South West Multicul-tural Network, Anne-Marie Vincent, who is pictured right, who lives in Bridport, remembered meeting the man she describes as an ‘icon’.
She said: “I was working for the Racial Equality Comm-ission at the time and there was an event at the Albert Hall which he attended.
“He was an incredibly inspirational person and I think he led the way in terms of the peace process in Northern Ireland because, of course, if it can happen in South Africa, which was so much more oppressive and exploitative, then surely it could happen there.
“He is an icon and a symbol of hope and tolerance.
“I don’t think anyone in my lifetime will accomplish what he has done.”