Nelson Mandela commemorative stone to be unveiled in Wakefield

A commemorative stone honouring Nelson Mandela is to be unveiled in one of Wakefield's flagship public squares.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Nelson Mandela's arrival at Robben Island prison to begin his life sentence.

Mandela Garden is an area within Crown Court Yard, off Wood Street, and will be the focal point of this historic corner of the city.

The memorial stone – the new-look garden's key feature – is to be unveiled on Friday (June 13). Cllr Peter Box, Leader of Wakefield Council, will cut a ribbon to mark the unveiling at a ceremony to be attended by local businesses and other guests.

The decision to honour the former South African leader, who died in December last year, was taken by a full meeting of the council.

Anti-apartheid campaigner Mandela fought tirelessly to bring freedom and democracy to his country, spending 27 years of his life in prison.

Cllr Box said: "Nelson Mandela was a remarkable man whose determination to win freedom and democracy for all the people of South Africa was truly awe-inspiring.

"Freedom is hard won but easily lost and it is right we honour his memory. This commemorative stone in Crown Court Yard is a fitting way to remember all that Nelson Mandela achieved."

Crown Court Yard is one of the city's showpiece public squares. It formed part of a city centre improvement programme completed in 2007 that used sandstone, granite and wood to create pedestrian-friendly space with trees, seating and artwork.

The year after it opened it won a Wakefield Civic Society award. ​