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Dorset leaders pay tribute to Nelson Mandela
DORSET leaders have paid tribute to former South African president, Nelson Mandela, who died at the age of 95.
MPs and leading councillors in Dorset have expressed their grief and admiration for his indelible legacy.
Hailed as a “giant amongst men” the former South African president and anti-apartheid hero died on Thursday night.
Bournemouth Borough Council will today fly their flag at half mast as a mark of respect to the inspirational leader, with Borough of Poole doing the same.
MP for Bournemouth West Conor Burns said: “He was that rarity in politics as he embodied the values and aspirations of a nation.
“He was released from prison when I was in my late teens and it is one of my most compelling and lasting memories seeing him emerge from prison after 27 years.
“Mandela managed to heal and unite an entire nation and transcended national borders. He seemed to have the purest soul and was so much more than a politician.”
MP for South Dorset Richard Drax said: “Sadly I never met the man, but just from looking at what I saw and read he behaved with such humility, dignity, forgiveness and leadership.
“He behaved in an extraordinary manner and his dignity was unquestioned throughout the world.”
Mr Mandela spent 27 years in jail before becoming South Africa's first black president in 1994.
Mayor of Poole Cllr Philip Eades said: “He was a giant, not just in South African politics, but in world politics.
“He fought an incredibly long fight with incredible grace and dignity. That I think is what makes him stand out as a giant amongst men.
“My full sympathy goes out to the whole nation of South Africa.”
Leader of Bournemouth Council, John Beesley said: “He was a truly inspirational person. His achievements in South Africa and across the world stage are of such significance it is hard to see how he managed to achieve so much in one lifetime.
“His legacy will live on. He changed far more than anyone believed was possible at the time.
“The changes he left were truly transformational. He is a lasting inspiration to the people of South Africa.”
Mid Dorset & North Poole Lib Dem MP Annette Brooke said: “Nelson Mandela has been one of the most inspirational people in my lifetime, his achievements in remaining true to his beliefs and with such dignity have had an enormous impact not only in South Africa but on us all across the world.”
Cllr Elaine Atkinson, Leader of the Council, Borough of Poole, said: “Nelson Mandela was a man who changed the world for everybody in it, no matter what their race, and his death is a very sad day for all of us.
"Everything he did was for the greater good, he was a true inspiration and we should all aspire to be as selfless as he was.
“I'm sure his legacy will continue to live on and my thoughts and prayers are with his family at this sad time. As a mark of respect the flag at the Civic Centre is being flown at half mast.”
The anti-apartheid icon, held in the highest esteem across the world for leading his nation's transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s after 27 years in prison, had been receiving medical care for a lung infection at his home.
Mr Mandela spent his final months surrounded by family after being released from hospital following a three month stay and passed away peacefully, President Jacob Zuma announced in a televised address last night.
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