The late Nelson Mandela and a link with Bolton Mountain Rescue Team

Our readership will have joined many the world over in mourning the passing of Nelson Mandela, an inspiration to millions, and a truly great world figure.

Recent readers of our website may be interested to learn that we have in pride of place at our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ, a large framed copy of a Team Newsletter ‘RES-Q’, very kindly personally signed by Nelson Mandela, when President of South Africa, with a certificate of authenticity from the Office of the President of South Africa.

Reproduced below is the original report from our website which was dated Wednesday 16th March 2011, explaining the great story behind how Nelson Mandela came to sign a copy of our Team Newsletter at the time;

Wednesday 16th March 2011. Best wishes from President of South Africa (at the time) Nelson Mandela to Bolton MRT now on display at our Base / HQ

As an update to the below story which first appeared on our website dated Sunday 6th February 2011, we are pleased to announce that thanks to the very kind generosity of a team member who wishes to remain anonymous, The Nelson Mandela signed copy of ’RES-Q!’ and its accompanying letter of authentication from the Office of the President, has now been professionally framed and has pride of place on the walls of our entrance to our Base / HQ at Ladybridge Hall. This now forms a very interesting talking point for all our guest visitors to our Base / HQ.

Best wishes from President of South Africa (at the time) Nelson Mandela to Bolton MRT comes to light over twelve years later!

Yes you have read the above correctly, it’s amazing what our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE receives in the mail!

Returning from a recent ski-ing holiday, our Team Leader came home to an envelope marked ’Do not bend,’ ’Open with Care,’ ’Fragile.’

Opening it with considerable interest, it contained a letter from former long serving Bolton MRT team member (and ex team Training Officer and former Team Chairman) and GMP Missing Person Search Manager Chris Moody of Monton, Manchester.

In his letter Chris explained to Garry that way back in 1998 when Chris was in the team, the team had an idea to send its popular newsletter at the time, entitled ’RES-Q!’ to exotic locations or people and be signed or authenticated in some other way that confirmed where the newsletter had travelled to or been signed by. On return to ’the team’ the newsletter would then be auctioned for team funds or so the plan went.

Now Chris being Chris, he accepted this ’challenge’ big style, and totally unbeknown to the team membership sent a copy of the May 1998 issue of ’RES-Q’ to none other than the (at the time) President of South Africa Nelson Mandela. (At the time probably the most recognisable individual on earth!) Well very kindly Nelson Mandela agreed to Chris’s request, and duly signed the cover of the newsletter in August 1998, with his office returning the newsletter to the team, which for reasons unknown did not get back to Chris in the UK until December 1998.

Chris in his letter to our Team Leader went on to explain ; “By which time the original idea had stalled within the team and the auction never took place, I kept the newsletter and attached correspondence at home, thinking that some other opportunity within the team would arise.”

Chris further explained that the signed newsletter gradually “ended up in the box that was rarely opened,” and still the team membership was totally unaware of this famous ’supporter’ of the team.

Well just recently, over twelve years later Chris opened ’the box’ and there was the long forgotten signed newsletter, and so Chris decided to send it to our Team Leader and let his little secret out of the bag.

So now our Team Leader on behalf of the team has a copy of our May 1998 issue of our newsletter at the time ’RES-Q!’ signed by none other than Nelson Mandela, offering his best wishes and dated 11th August 1998.

Furthermore Chris also enclosed a letter to him which accompanied the signed newsletter, bearing the official seal of the Office of the President of South Africa, dated 24th August 1998.

The letter from the Private Secretary of the Office of the President states; “The President has requested me to acknowledge with gratitude receipt of your request dated 29th June 1998.”

“We are pleased to inform you that the newsletter, “RES-Q!” has been autographed and enclosed herewith, as requested.”

“President Mandela wishes you every success in your endeavours.”

“With kind regards, Private Secretary to the Office of the President of South Africa.”

The team has decided (very quickly- no thought needed) that the Nelson Mandela signed copy of ’RES-Q!’ and its accompanying letter of authentication from the Office of the President, will now be framed and take pride of place on the walls of our Base / HQ at Ladybridge Hall.

The team would like to thank Chris Moody for writing so successfully to Nelson Mandela and of course to Nelson Mandela himself for so very kindly signing the cover of the newsletter, and his office for returning it to the team. And finally we are reminded of the old adage, “Some things are worth waiting for.”

What a talking point this will provide for future visitors to our Ladybridge Hall Base / HQ.