The late South African president Nelson Mandela was given the honorary freedom of the borough of Brent six months ago - 23 years after the statesman visited the area.

Mandela, who died yesterday aged 95, became only the second person to be handed the accolade when the council voted unanimously in June to support the awarding.

In 1990 Mandela visited Brent while he was deputy leader of the African National Congress in South Africa in order to attend a special concert, Nelson Mandela: An International Tribute for a Free South Africa, held at the old Wembley Stadium to mark his release from prison. During his visit he called by the-then council leader of Brent Council, the late Dorman Long.

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The same year, the council recommended the freedom of the borough be presented to Mandela but at the time it was not agreed and the hand-painted scroll and special casket he would have received in 1990 have been kept in the Brent Museum since 2010.

 

It is not Mandela's only connection to the borough. In 1962 he addressed the Willesden Trades Council and in the 1980s, a newly-built road - Mandela Close - on the Stonebridge Estate was named after him.

Brent Council leader Councillor Muhammed Butt (Labour) said: "The world has lost its greatest citizen. Nelson Mandela's magnanimity and strength of spirit will inspire for generations to come.

"Councillors from all parties were honoured this year to award the great man the Freedom of the Borough on behalf of Brent residents.

"Nelson Mandela's life had a huge impact on our borough and on its people. Everyone at Brent Council was deeply saddened to hear of his death."

The flags are flying at half-mast at Brent Civic Centre in Wembley and a book of condolences has been set up there.

n Have you met Mandela or been heavily inspired by him? Contact ian.proctor@trinitymirror.com