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Paul McBride funeral: Celtic's Lennon and Alex Salmond join mourners

Hundreds of mourners have gathered to say a final farewell to one of Scotland's most prominent and respected lawyers.

Paul McBride QC died suddenly in his sleep while on a business trip in Pakistan last weekend. He was 47.

Figures from the world of politics, including First Minister Alex Salmond, former MSP Tommy Sheridan and George Galloway, made their way to a requiem mass at St Aloysius' Church in Garnethill, Glasgow, this morning to pay their last respects.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon, a close friend of Mr McBride's, was one of the coffin bearers as figures from sport, the media and law also attended.

Mr McBride was one of the leading lawyers of his generation, having been appointed a QC at the age of just 35.

He was involved in many high-profile criminal cases and fatal accident inquiries, as well as representing Celtic Football Club.

Over the past week, tributes have poured in for the lawyer and Celtic players wore black armbands during their Scottish Cup quarter final yesterday as a mark of respect.

A wake will be held later at Celtic Park.

In a joint statement, Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland and Solicitor General Lesley Thomson said: "Paul was in the prime of his life.

"He lived life to the full and had contributed so much to the legal profession, the media and public life in Scotland.

"He had a fabulous intellect and was interested in so many things. He was a fearless advocate who was not afraid to speak out about injustice and intolerance."

Mr McBride was on a business trip to Lahore with human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar.

Both had been at a wedding but Mr McBride returned to his room early, feeling unwell.

He was found dead in his bed at the Pearl Continental hotel last Sunday morning.

A post-mortem examination concluded that Mr McBride died in his sleep through natural causes.

t least 500 mourners packed into the church on the city's Rose Street.

A number of Celtic players and some of the management team arrived at the service on a special bus. Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell also attended.

Mr McBride was remembered for his "relentless wit" and for his "generous and loyal" personality.

Close friend Tony Grantham recalled that Mr McBride always had "a mobile phone welded to his ear" as he left court each day.

He said: "He always answered his phone and the answer was never no."

Lord Advocate Mr Mulholland also paid tribute to him at the service.

Mr Mulholland said Mr McBride, who apparently "had a contact book better than Simon Cowell's", was a "master negotiator" because he was able to see every argument from his opponent's side.

He said: "He was one of the finest lawyers of his generation and one of the most able leaders of his generation.

"He was a man of good humour who was generous with his time. He was involved in many high-profile cases and fought for his clients ferociously."

The Lord Advocate recalled meeting Mr McBride for the first time when he was carving out a name for himself in the 1990s.

He said: "I was very impressed by someone so young being able to get straight to the source of the problem. He took everything in his stride.

"I told him 'You have a real talent for making rubbish sound great'. I always thought he would make a great stand-up comedian.

"Women say men can't multi-task but if you saw Paul, you knew he was the exception to that rule."

Mr Mulholland also praised Mr McBride for speaking out against bigotry and prejudice.

He said: "Paul was fearless. He was not afraid to speak out if speaking out was the right thing to do. The easiest thing would have been to stay quiet, but that wasn't Paul's style.

"He was a much-loved son, partner and friend. He would have been as proud as Punch to see the number of people here today, from all walks of life. I'm sure I can hear him shouting down at all of us 'beat that'."

Mr Grantham, who was one of the best men at Mr McBride's commitment ceremony to partner Gary, said Mr McBride could be "considered nothing less than a great man".

He said: "Glasgow High Court will forever be a quieter place without you."

Stop All The Clocks, a poem by WH Auden which featured in the film Four Weddings And A Funeral, was read out before Mr McBride's body was committed for burial.

As the procession left the church, At Last by the late Etta James was played over the speakers.

Mr McBride was laid to rest at St Conval's Cemetery in Barrhead.



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