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Selection Of "Memorable Events"

:-) Picture & text from Bedfordshire On Sunday - 09/04/2000

Nelson Mandela Mandela honours hero Huddleston (Bedford, ENGLAND)

Nelson Mandela told Bedford crowds of the 'indelible impression' Archbishop Trevor Huddleston made on the freedom struggle in South Africa. The country's former president arrived in Silver Street on Friday afternoon to unveil a bust of the late archbishop sculptured by the renowned artist Ian Walters. Produced as a result of an appeal for 15,000 launched by Bedford Trades Union Council, the bust's plinth contains a personal inscription from Mr Mandela. Chris Kilroy, former High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, donated 10,000 towards the cost, the rest coming from the borough council, other organisations and sympathisers. Arriving on a special stage with the aid of a walking stick Mr Mandela, 81, addressed the crowd after a rendition of the South African national anthem by Wootton Upper School girls' choir. "In South Africa we commemorated the passing away of Archbishop Trevor Huddleston," said Mr Mandela, who was locked up for 27 years for fight against apartheid. "Many people now claim they were in the forefront of the struggle. Some of those we never knew about. But people inside and outside Africa would readily admit that Archbishop Huddleston was at the forefront of that battle. "On one occasion, one of our leading liberation fighters was arrested and Father Huddleston said: 'Arrest me first'. But we needed him to carry on encouraging our people to defy apartheid. Fortunately he obeyed us. "I wanted to pay tribute to one of the greats of the liberation struggle against one of the cruellest ordeals of racial oppression our country has ever seen. "I owe this debt to the anti-apartheid movement and to Father Huddleston in particular. It is a great honour for me to be here to say to him 'thank you'."

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