FUNDRAISING for a statue of Nelson Mandela in Glasgow has been stepped up on the 30th anniversary of his release from prison.

Several patrons of the Nelson Mandela Scottish Memorial Foundation (NMSMF) are backing the drive for the final £30,000 needed to build the tribute.

A total of £70,000 has already been raised and it is hoped the remaining sum will be pledged between today’s anniversary and United Nations Nelson Mandela International Day on July 18.

Brian Filling, chair of the NMSMF and honorary consul for South Africa in Scotland, was instrumental in bringing Mandela to Glasgow in 1993 to accept the freedom of the city.

He said: “Fundraising so far has included major events but also individual donations and initiatives like kilt walks and birthday and retirement donations.

“We have made major strides in setting up an education programme for schools and with this new five-month drive, we will be within shouting distance of at last making the statue a reality.

“While Mr Mandela was in prison, many ordinary people in Scotland organised and acted to make sure the world would know about him and the fight against Apartheid.

“That’s why we want today’s generation to join us in raising the funds to make this statue one that they can see as theirs - a ‘people’s statue’ that they can call their own and to remind future generations of the key part Scotland played in taking action for human rights and challenging racism, and on taking action for a better world.”

Glasgow was the first to offer Mandela freedom of the city. The prospective statue would be placed at Nelson Mandela Place in the city centre, renamed in 1986 because it was home to the Glasgow South African Consulate. It is also close to George Square, where Mandela addressed crowds during his visit seven years later.

Sir Alex Ferguson, a patron of the campaign who met Mandela on three occasions, said: “Nelson Mandela was special. An example for the world to follow.”