Pat Hume to receive Irish Red Cross honour

Pat and John Hume.

Pat Hume is to be honoured by the Irish Red Cross in recognition of her decades of public service.

Mrs Hume (pictured) will accept her Lifetime Achievement honour at the Irish Red Cross Humanitarian Awards, which will take place in Dublin in November.

The mother-of-five is primary carer for her husband, John, who has been suffering with dementia for more than a decade.

Tara Justin, from the Irish Red Cross, said: “We are recognising Pat Hume with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her decades of support and commitment to the Derry public and her wider contribution to the peace process.”

Mrs Hume worked alongside her husband from the early days of the civil rights movement in the 1960s right through to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

She ran operations on the ground, manning her husband’s constituency office in Derry.

It was here that she met many young people caught up in the Troubles and dealt with issues presented to her by thousands who were encountering housing problems, social security issues and health and education concerns.

While John Hume travelled abroad for much of his political work, Pat was his eyes and ears on the ground, keeping him briefed on political matters.

This was all against a backdrop where the Hume family was often under threat; their car was tampered with and the family home was firebombed and vandalised.

These were threats that Pat often dealt with alone while John was working away.

Tara Justin added: “Given that 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, it is very fitting that, as the year draws to a close, the Irish Red Cross is recognising the role Pat Hume played in Derry and her wider contribution to the politics which ultimately provided the basis for the Good Friday Agreement.”

Mrs Hume will receive her award at the Clayton Hotel, Dublin, on November 24.

The announcement has been welcomed by SDLP leader Colum Eastwood who said: “Pat has given a lifetime of service to the wider community of Derry, as well as selflessly dedicating decades to the SDLP, and, for that, we owe her a debt of gratitude.

“As a party founded from the civil rights movement, Pat is indicative of everything it means to fight for equality and fairness for every person, despite class or creed.

“No-one is more deserving of this honour than Pat Hume and I am glad she is getting the recognition for all that she done for our peace process both yesterday and today.”

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