Scarborough businessman talks of his meetings with Mandela.

Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela

“Simply the greatest man I ever met.”

Casino and entertainment impresario Don Robinson has met many of the world’s great figures.

From presidents to The Beatles there is not many people the 78-year-old has not shaken hands with but he holds the former South African president above them all.

“I met him twice,” said Don, who once owned Flamingo Land and Hull City FC, “once in London and once in Bulgaria.

“He was such a lovely man. I went to Robben Island once and for a man to have been locked up for all those years in a place like that and then to come out and preach peace is something from another world.

“The second time I met him he said he remembered me and as he shook my hand and placed his other hand on top of mine, it was like being a child again and getting that sense that the person you were with was giving you warmth.

“I cannot describe it. It was like he was making you the most important person in the room, putting you totally at ease.

“I have to admit that when I heard he had died I shed a tear. I have met many people in my life but he was the greatest, I have always told people that.

“When, in hundreds of years time, people sit down to write the history of the times the first words they will write will be ‘Nelson Mandela’.”