A book of condolence opens to Bat Hume

A condolence book will open in Derry for Pat Hume, as the widow of late Democratic Party leader John Hume continues to be honored.

Mrs. Hume died at home after a short struggle with illness on Thursday, surrounded by her family.

The former teacher’s death comes just over a year after the death of her Nobel Peace Prize winning husband.

The death of the SDLP founder, who was a key architect of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, led to a torrent of honors from around the world.

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was among those who praised Mrs. Hume, calling her a “dignified and resolute force behind peace in Ireland”.

Mrs. Hume worked alongside her husband for several decades, from the start of the civil rights movement in the 1960s until after the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998. She later took care of him during his long battle with dementia.

She was awarded the Irish Red Cross Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018, and a foundation was launched to honor her and her husband for peace and reconciliation last year.

Derry and Straban Mayor Graham Wark will open the Book of Condolences in Derry Guildhall on Friday.

He said: “I wanted to open this book of condolence today to offer the people the opportunity to pay their respects and say thank you to a wonderful and unrelenting woman of courage in her service to the people of this city and across the North. Ireland and beyond.

“The tributes pouring in from all over the world, from all walks of life, are testament to the contribution that Pat Hume made to her right to peace and reconciliation, and of the many lives she touched with her kindness and courage.

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“I want to offer my personal condolences to the Hume family today – they have given so much over the years and the loss of both John and Pat in such a short period of time is so heartbreaking.

“However, it should be comforting to know that Pat’s legacy will continue in the lives of the inhabitants of this town, and in the continuing work of the John and Pat Hume Foundation.

“I think I speak for everyone when I say thank you Pat for your compassion, your grace, your commitment, and the life you have dedicated not only to your husband and family but to everyone who needs a helping hand or a listening ear.”

Former president Mary McAleese said Mrs. Hume was the “ideal partner” for her husband.

“From far back in the 1960s, John was the political strategist of the century in Ireland – the peace process, the Good Friday Agreement, he’s the architect, he’s the chief architect of these things,” she said on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland’s Morning Ireland.

“Pat by his side was not just someone who raised the family, as she did, she was not only the family that nurtured, encouraged and kept John going, as she did, but she was also a formidable community activist in her own right.”

Stormont’s leaders were also praised.

Prime Minister Paul Gevan said her death drew much acclaim both at home and abroad, a testament to Mrs. Hume’s legacy.

“There is a real sense of loss after the death of Pat Hume,” he said.

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“Not just among her friends and family – and my thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time – but for the many lives she touched, directly and indirectly.”

Deputy Prime Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of Pat Hume’s passing. Pat was a strong and resolute person whose tremendous contribution to our peace is recognized across this island and throughout the world.”

“My thoughts are with the children of Pat and John, the entire Hume family, and the people of Derry who will be sorely missed.”

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