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Image / Editorial

John Hume’s family are asking the public to ‘light a candle for peace’ tonight

by Edaein OConnell
04th Aug 2020

People are urged to light candles to honour the life of the renowned politician

The family of John Hume has asked the public to “light a candle for peace in their homes or at their door” to honour the politician’s life.

They invite people to light a candle at 9 pm tonight instead of lining the streets in light of current Covid-19 restrictions.

The family said: “John loved the people of Derry and Donegal… We know he would have prioritised public health and the safety and health of our communities. We’re asking people to follow that guidance, please do not put yourself or others at risk.

“Instead we would ask that people light a candle for peace at 9pm in their homes or at their door.”

They also said that the “heartfelt and sincere condolences” they have received have been “immensely comforting”.

Peace process

John Hume died yesterday aged 83 at Owen Mor nursing home in Derry. The former SDLP leader and Nobel laureate is regarded as one of the most important figures in the Northern Ireland peace process. In the 1960s he emerged as a leader of the Civil Rights movement in Derry and was one of the founding members of the Social Democratic and Labour Party in 1970.

His fight to end the violence that plagued the region helped to orchestrate vital junctures such as the Sunningdale Agreement, the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

His work in the latter led to referendums both north and south of the border. The result of which led to powersharing in Stormont.

In 2001 he resigned as leader of the SDLP and stepped back from politics in 2005. Symptoms of dementia began to appear in the late 1990s and Mr Hume had lived in Owen Mor nursing home in recent years.

He is the only man to be awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize, the Martin Luther King Award and the Nobel Peace Prize which he won alongside the then-leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, David Trimble. In 2010 he was voted “Ireland’s Greatest” in a public poll by RTÉ.

We shall overcome

A statement by his family read: “We would like also to extend our gratitude to the people of Derry and Moville/Greencastle, who have looked after John and shown us so much kindness as his dementia has progressed. Celebrating community in all its diversity went to the heart of John’s political ethos and we are very appreciative that our communities supported, respected and protected John.

“John was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great grandfather and a brother. He was very much loved, and his loss will be deeply felt by all his extended family.

“It seems particularly apt for these strange and fearful days to remember the phrase that gave hope to John and so many of us through dark times: we shall overcome.”

He is survived by his wife Pat; their five children, Terese, Áine, Aidan, John and Mo, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and siblings.

John Hume’s funeral mass will take place at the Cathedral of St Eugene in Derry City tomorrow at 11.30 am and will be broadcast on RTÉ One.

Image: Flickr

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