I never thought I'd be getting my kit off at my age.

Pearl Read, 56, on modelling for Age Concern's anti-age-discrimination campaign

[Mandela] was very lucky to escape hanging. What Mandela had done was to destroy black nationalism for over a decade, and he'd entrenched the National Party in power.

Brian Walden on Nelson Mandela

My veracity was not questioned in the court, I'm going to continue to do the job that's given to me by the Lottery Act.

Peter Davis, head of lottery watchdog Oflot

I'm sad to see him go but I don't think it's an absolute catastrophe. I do believe it may turn out for the best. When you are going to make some of the changes we are making, you have to start again.

Michael Berkeley, board member, Royal Opera House, on the departure of Nicholas Payne, ROH director, to the ENO

The nation will forever be in debt to Britain for her gifts of language, literature, law, and political institutions.

John Howard, Australia's monarchist PM, on the first day of the Constitutional Convention

It started out as a bit of a joke, but Rita blew my socks off. She said that she didn't know what my job was, but she could see me surrounded by water. She didn't know me from Adam, but she knew everything about me.

Nigel Briscoe, deep-sea diver, on visiting medium Rita Rogers (as later consulted by Diana, Princess of Wales)

We are very angry with Jack Straw. When Labour was in opposition promises were given to this association that, should Labour gain power, then our trades union rights would be returned to us. They have reneged on this promise completely.

Ron Adams, Prison Officers' Association, after the government's decision to uphold the ban on industrial action

There is a very grave danger that by simply inviting a few (mostly naff) pop stars and comedians to drinkies at No 10, the very people Blair is trying to impress will be turned off. It brings to mind those sad pictures of Harold Wilson with the Beatles.

Wayne Hemingway, founder of Red or Dead

It fills up the page so I don't have to do a background.

Beryl Cook on why she only paints fat people

They are part of our heritage, and they want to come home. They look very unhappy indeed. I am not surprised, considering they have been incarcerated in a glass case in a foreign country for 70 years. Just like the Greeks want their Elgin Marbles back, so we want our Winnie the Pooh, along with all his splendid friends.

Gwyneth Dunwoody, MP, demanding the liberation of Winnie the Pooh et al from New York Central Library