THE man himself may be many miles away, but the 80th birthday of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will still be celebrated in Hull on Saturday at the research centre he continues to support.
Academics, civic leaders and members of the business community and voluntary sector will attend a reception at the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation (WISE), for an event organised in collaboration with the TutuFoundation UK.
The Archbishop, who will be retiring from public life, has been an active patron of WISE since its inception and has engaged fully with the institute, visiting the building several times during and after its renovation, attending key events during the 2007 anti-slavery commemorations, and sending messages of support for other important occasions.
Light tea and refreshments will be provided for an invited group and there will be short speeches and a film. It will be one of several British events marking the birthday of one of the world’s leading human rights campaigners, alongside others in Westminster, Birmingham, Liverpool, and at Southwark Cathedral in London.
The institute’s Professor Gary Craig said he hoped the occasion would be widely celebrated on the Archbishop’s actual birthday on Friday.
“For the public at large, we invite them all to gather around the water cooler, on buses, in the pub or wherever at noon on Friday to sing happy birthday and raise a glass to acknowledge the important milestone in the life of a great man and his contribution to the causes of truth, peace and reconciliation.”