Charities plan lasting legacy to Hume as trust winds down
Tributes have been paid to John Hume by the two charities which benefited from his share of the Nobel Peace Prize money since 1999, as the trust he formed has now been wound down.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army were given more than £150,000 of the Nobel Laureate’s peace money which he wanted to be used to relieve poverty in Northern Ireland.
The John Hume Trust made annual donations to the charities since 1999, but a decision was made at the last meeting to divide the remaining money equally between the two charities leaving them with a final donation of £76,000 apiece.
Representing St Vincent de Paul, Colm McNicholl said whatever project the money is used for, it will also serve as a legacy to Mr Hume.
He said: “While everyone knows John Hume the politician, he is also such a humanitarian and has done so much to relieve poverty over the years.
“I don't think the wider public knew that John used every penny he received when he won the Nobel Peace Prize in this way. He never sought publicity for it although he took every possible chance he could to publicise the work by both charities.
“Since he set up the trust we received yearly donations of £10,000 that we were able to do a lot with, but this final contribution is a significant one and there are several projects in different parts of Northern Ireland which we are considering, but whatever our final decision is, we will make sure it is also a permanent legacy to John and his wife Pat.”
A similar lasting acknowledgment of the contribution made by Mr Hume is planned by the Salvation Army in Northern Ireland which, like St Vincent de Paul, received £150,000 from the trust since its formation.
Pamela Neill from the Salvation Army said John Hume's contribution to their work went beyond the monetary value.
She adds: “I am so happy to be able to tell people now about how much Mr Hume has done to relieve poverty in Northern Ireland.
“He didn't have to set up this trust, he could have kept the money, but not only did we benefit from the Nobel Prize money, he also donated the peace money he received from other countries.
“It was also about more than money to John. He cared deeply about people living in poverty and had a very hands-on approach to the work we did with the money.
“The work he has helped us do since 1999 is immeasurable and should be shouted about from the rooftops.”
John Hume received the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with David Trimble in 1998. It is awarded to those who have “done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”. The St Vincent de Paul Society was set up to tackle poverty in all its forms through the provision of practical assistance to those in need. The Salvation Army also helps people who are homeless and in need.