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John Hume's funeral cortege returns home to Derry ahead of final farewell

John Hume's family have been strengthened by the countless tributes paid to him as thousands of people heeded their request to not to line the route Mr Hume's funeral cortege made its way to St Eugene's Cathedral in Londonderry.

Mr Hume's remains were taken from the family's holiday home in Moville, Co Donegal to Derry but only a tiny fraction of people didn't adhere to the family to remain at home and light a candle for peace as a mark of respect to him.

In a statement, Mr Hume's widow and constant stalwart in life Pat, their sons and daughters Therese, Aine, Aidan, John and Mo said: "John loved the people of Derry and Donegal.

"The heartfelt and sincere condolences that we have received from people from across the island but particularly from the communities John loved being a part of have been immensely comforting to us."

Earlier, in Moville, the desire to do as the Hume family requested was first and foremost on people thoughts despite wanting to keep to the tradition of visiting the wake house.

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Derry City and Strbane District Council Mayor and his wife Cheryl, former party leader Mark Durkan and current leader Colum Eastwood at St. Eugene's Cathedral as John Hume's remains arrived back in his native city. Picture Martin McKeown. 04.08.20

Derry City and Strbane District Council Mayor and his wife Cheryl, former party leader Mark Durkan and current leader Colum Eastwood at St. Eugene's Cathedral as John Hume's remains arrived back in his native city. Picture Martin McKeown. 04.08.20

Derry City and Strbane District Council Mayor and his wife Cheryl, former party leader Mark Durkan and current leader Colum Eastwood at St. Eugene's Cathedral as John Hume's remains arrived back in his native city. Picture Martin McKeown. 04.08.20

Local woman Roisin Doherty was typical of many residents when she said she was greatly saddened at the lack of opportunity to pay respect to Mr Hume.

She said: "From the time John and Pat came to Moville, they have been part of the fabric of the town until John was just too unwell to be out and about but he was as loved and respected here as he was anywhere else.

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Ten-year-old Millie McHugh, from Derry, holds a candle in memory of Nobel laureate John Hume on Derry’s Walls this evening.
Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye

Ten-year-old Millie McHugh, from Derry, holds a candle in memory of Nobel laureate John Hume on Derry’s Walls this evening. Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

Ten-year-old Millie McHugh, from Derry, holds a candle in memory of Nobel laureate John Hume on Derry’s Walls this evening. Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye

"It would be the natural thing to go to the wake and pay respects but Pat's wishes are what is important now and out of respect to her and the family I will stay at home and light a candle in his memory."

Mr Hume's remains were taken into the Cathredral and placed at the foot of the magnificent alter where Fr Paul Farren will celebrate Requiem Mass tomorrow.

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John Hume's wife Pat arrives at St. Eugene's Cathedral in Derry. Picture Martin McKeown. 04.08.20

John Hume's wife Pat arrives at St. Eugene's Cathedral in Derry. Picture Martin McKeown. 04.08.20

John Hume's wife Pat arrives at St. Eugene's Cathedral in Derry. Picture Martin McKeown. 04.08.20

The grounds of St Eugene’s Cathedral will remain closed to the public before and during the funeral service and parking restrictions will be in place in the surrounding streets.

Members of the public are also reminded that the City Cemetery will remain closed throughout the morning in keeping with the current opening arrangements and social distancing guidelines.

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John Hume's wife Pat is comforted as his remains are brought to St. Eugene's Cathedral. Picture Martin McKeown. 04.08.20

John Hume's wife Pat is comforted as his remains are brought to St. Eugene's Cathedral. Picture Martin McKeown. 04.08.20

John Hume's wife Pat is comforted as his remains are brought to St. Eugene's Cathedral. Picture Martin McKeown. 04.08.20

Meanwhile, SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood hit out at those responsible for a number of hijackings in Derry just hours before Mr Hume's remains arrived at St Eugene's.

On Monday a Royal Mail van was hijacked in the Creggan area where yesterday evening a delivery van was also hijacked and set on fire.

Mr Eastwood said: "Derry is a city in mourning today. People are trying to show their respect for a man who brought an end to conflict and worked every day of his life to improve the lives of the people of our city.

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Mourners hold candles as they prepare for the arrival of the funeral cortege of John Hume in the grounds of St Eugene's Cathedral. Picture Martin McKeown. 04.08.20

Mourners hold candles as they prepare for the arrival of the funeral cortege of John Hume in the grounds of St Eugene's Cathedral. Picture Martin McKeown. 04.08.20

Mourners hold candles as they prepare for the arrival of the funeral cortege of John Hume in the grounds of St Eugene's Cathedral. Picture Martin McKeown. 04.08.20

“The attacks on people and vehicles that have taken place across the city are a violation of Derry’s grief and those responsible have set themselves against our community. It needs to stop now and those responsible must be held accountable."

Belfast Telegraph