I came late to the cause of fighting the apartheid system in South Africa, I was the father of two young boys and that consumed most of my time.
Once they were a little older my wife and I were able to become more involved.
Leading up to the visit by Nelson Mandela to Glasgow I would come straight from work to one of the many organisational meetings we held in union offices in Cochrane Street. It was the night before the actual visit and we were on our way into town to complete the final arrangements such as making placards to be handed out the next day, as we joined the motorway Mandela’s convoy passed us on its way to the Hilton Hotel, we drew alongside the second car of the convoy at traffic lights in Pitt Street, I tooted the horn and there was a brief look of concern on the faces of the security team which soon changed to beaming smiles when they saw my two boys waving excitedly at them.
We continued to carry out our tasks, it was only when the visit was over that I found out our chairman who was travelling in that car was trying to wave to us to follow them to the hotel in order for us to meet Mandela. That was probably the greatest missed opportunity of my life however the next day seeing Mandela dance on the stage in George Square made everything worthwhile.
I am immensely Proud of Glasgow and its citizens for the welcome extended and the affection they showed Nelson Mandela.
My wife and I are still involved with ACTSA Scotland and the Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation as it’s important to remind people of the contribution Glasgow and Scotland made to the peoples of South Africa.