A charity worker who met Nelson Mandela has described the former South African leader as an ‘extraordinary’ man.
Stuart Livesey, 69, met Mandela during his 90th birthday celebrations in London.
Former Accrington Grammar School pupil Stuart, pictured from Huncoat, said: “He was a wonderful iconic man and it was very exciting to meet him.
“He was able to get so many people and stars to support him and what has happened since has been marvellous.”
Stuart, who grew up in Burnley Road, Huncoat, spent several years living South Africa during the apartheid years while working for Shell and BP.
During this time he also helped his brother Derek, who worked as warden of the Students’ Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (SHAWCO) at the University of Cape Town.
The Cape Town-based charity seeks to improve the quality of life in developing communities and townships. It was built up over 25 years by former Accrington Grammar School head boy Derek.
On his retirement, Derek was presented with a message of gratitude from Princess Anne, patron of the Save the Children fund. Stuart, who now lives in St Anne’s, said his brother died in 1994, just a week after Mandela was inaugurated as president.
Stuart said: “Derek worked in the townships to look after the very poor and underprivileged communities. He was always running a fine line. Everybody was against apartheid but he had to be very careful how he handled the government.”
Stuart said he is worried for the future of South Africa without Mandela because he was such an extraordinary leader .
He said: “Mandela was trying to hand a set of keys to everybody in South Africa. It’s not going to be quite the same now and I do think it’s going to be difficult from here on in.”
Stuart Livesey and Desmond Tutu
Stuart remains involved with Derek’s charity and recently met Archbishop Desmond Tutu to discuss green energy projects.