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Northern Ireland

John Hume's wife Pat to be honoured for tireless work for peace

Pat Hume with her husband John
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Pat Hume is to be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Irish Red Cross in recognition of her decades of public service.

Pat worked alongside her husband John Hume from the beginning of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, continuing during the Troubles, right through to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Pat ran operations on the ground, manning John's constituency office in Londonderry.

She met many young people caught up in the Troubles and dealt with issues presented to her by thousands encountering housing problems, social security issues and health and education concerns.

Pat sacrificed her first career as a teacher to undertake this work and didn't just run one political office; the Hume family home was a thoroughfare for journalists, political visitors and diplomats, and Pat ran proceedings here, too, while also taking care of a young family.

As John travelled 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; the car was tampered with and the family home was fire-bombed and vandalised.

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

Given 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, the Irish Red Cross said it is very fitting to recognise the role Pat Hume played in Derry and in her wider contribution to the politics which ultimately provided the basis for the Good Friday Agreement.

Pat is now primary carer for John, who has been living with dementia for almost 20 years.

She will accept the award at the Irish Red Cross Humanitarian Awards Ball, which takes place at the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road in Dublin on November 24.

The ceremony will honour humanitarian achievements while raising funds for vulnerable children and families in Ireland and overseas.

While the Lifetime Achievement Award is a pre-determined category, entries for five other categories are open now.

Tara Justin from the Irish Red Cross said: "We are calling those of you with relevant experience to apply, or nominate your peers, across five of our awards categories - the Journalism Excellence Award, Humanitarian of the Year Award, Innovation for Change Award, Corporate Impact Award and Student Humanitarian Award."

The deadline for entries is Friday, October 5.

Belfast Telegraph

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Pat Hume with her husband John