Sutton Council turned down opportunity for Archibishop Desmond Tutu visit
Sutton Council turned down the opportunity to have world famous human rights campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu visit the borough last month, it has emerged.
The Tutu Foundation, which works on behalf of the Archbishop has spoken of its disappointment that the borough failed to get involved with his visit to South London in October, despite numerous invitations.
In April this year, the foundation got in touch with Sutton Council to inform it that the foundation wanted to organise a visit by the South African social rights activist and fervent anti apartheid campaigner.
Later in August, the foundation tried again, but were told by leader of the council Ruth Dombey that she was going on holiday, and was given another person to contact.
Alexandra Ankrah, chief executive of the foundation had written to Mrs Dombey: "We were hoping to include LB Sutton and Sutton Life Centre in our plans for the visit of Archbishop Desmond Tutu to the UK this October - but time is slipping by."
One final invitation was made to the council in September, to "at least involve local schools", but again the plea fell on deaf ears with no one replying.
Mrs Ankrah said: "We even offered the council 200 free tickets to go to Croydon to see the Archbishop, but that was not taken up."
"What surprised me was that for an organisation which has stated it is trying to promote the Life Centre, it would at least want to make a connection which would raise its profile."
"We were passed from pillar to post, and it's really disappointing the council did not get involved."
Mrs Ankrah said she hopes the council will be more keen to play a part in next years' premiere of Tutu Ubuntu - an opera performed by young people for the Archbishop at Fairfield Halls during his visit last month.
Sutton-based Guest House Opera, who put on the performance were told by Archbishop Tutu, it was "Inspired and Inspiring".
A council spokesman said: "We are disappointed that we weren't able to find a suitable opportunity for the Archbishop to visit this October, especially after a very successful Tutu Foundation event this summer.
"We would certainly be interested in organising an event for any future visit."