Celebrating the life and work of Nelson Mandela at Westminster Abbey

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Representatives from the Clipper Race and Sapinda Rainbow Project attended the memorial service to celebrate the life and work of Nelson Mandela at Westminster Abbey in London yesterday.

David Cusworth, recruitment manager for the Clipper Race, and Sarah Stratton of the Sapinda Rainbow Project, joined nearly 2,000 people at the service.

Since the start of the partnership, the Sapinda Rainbow Project ambassadors, in connection with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, have visited the UK and completed 3 weeks of training to learn how to sail a 70 foot ocean racing yacht. Four ambassadors have successfully completed a leg of the race so far.

Guests at the memorial service included Mandela’s daughter Zindzi, members of the Government, past and present, including John Major, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Eric Pickles and Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, was also present and the guest of honour was Prince Harry, representing Her Majesty the Queen.

Eight months ago, the 10 young South African ambassadors of the Sapinda Rainbow Project were in Durban competing against 20 other hopefuls to be part of the project and take on the challenge of the Clipper 2013-14 Race. Many had not seen a boat before taking part and coming from disadvantaged backgrounds wanted to push themselves and learn new skills to develop as influential young people within their communities.

The Sapinda Rainbow Project continues to carry the flag for the development of young South Africans around the world.

Moving and inspirational speeches from Desmond Tutu and Sir Peter Hain were accompanied by the Abbey choir and the Soweto Gospel Choir, while Jonty Driver read a passage from the Robben Island “bible” marked and remembered by Mandela during his time in incarceration there: Act II, Scene 2 of Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare.

The memorial finished fittingly by a rousing rendition of the South African national anthem.

Mandela died in December last year aged 95.

Photo/ Credit: Press Association