Hundreds at Rev. Latimer book launch in London

Jim O'Hara, chairperson of the Irish Cultural Centre, with Rev David Latimer and Foyle Sinn Fein MP Elisha McCallion.
Jim O'Hara, chairperson of the Irish Cultural Centre, with Rev David Latimer and Foyle Sinn Fein MP Elisha McCallion.

Hundreds of people turned out for the London launch of Rev. David Latimer’s acclaimed memoir about his friendship with the late Martin McGuinness.

Foyle Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion was the guest speaker at the event, which took place at the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith on Wednesday evening.

The Foyle MP said that, while the friendship between Rev Latimer and Martin McGuinness may have raised eyebrows among some, it came as no surprise to those who knew the qualities of both men.

“Some may have been astounded at the strong and deep friendship which developed between Martin and David. But, to those who knew Martin, that friendship was not surprising,” she said.

“Martin was an incredibly warm and friendly person. No one who met him, regardless of their outlook, could not have failed to have been struck by his welcoming personality and personal warmth. And, given that such a description could just as equally be applied to David Latimer, it is no surprise the pair became firm friends.”

She said the men’s friendship offered a positive example to all and its legacy continued to inspire reconciliation efforts.

“It was a friendship that opened minds and led people to places they would not have considered going, including David, who ended up addressing a Sinn Féin Ard Fheis,” she added. “It also opened doors in a literal sense, leading to many people in my home city of Derry visiting First Derry Presbyterian Church for the very first time.

“Alongside the charity fundraising that will come from this book and the good that will do in improving the lives of those undergoing (cancer) treatment, it also shows what can be achieved through a willingness to step outside our comfort zones, while still retaining our core beliefs, and reaching out to others. I have no doubt David will continue in this work and, for our part, we will continue to learn from the lessons Martin taught us and celebrate his remarkable life and legacy.”