By Jonathan McCambridge, PA
For the second time in little more than a year, the people of Derry lined the streets outside imposing St Eugene’s Cathedral.
As the black hearse carrying the wicker coffin slowly drove past there was silence at first, before a smattering of applause grew to become a crescendo.
The scene was strikingly similar to the funeral procession of SDLP leader and Nobel Peace prize-winner John Hume last August.
This time it was his beloved wife Pat the people of the city were turning out for.
Like so many other recent funerals, the shadow of Covid hung over the service, with the number of mourners greatly reduced and wearing face masks.
While tributes had come from around the world for Pat Hume, this felt like a more local affair, with mourners restricted to family, representatives from the SDLP and a small number of dignitaries.
Irish President Michael D Higgins entered the cathedral just ahead of the Hume family. Lord Trimble, the man who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with John Hume, was there with his wife Daphne.
It seemed that many local people had, however, been following events online.
Halfway through the service, the streets were close to deserted; by its conclusion, several hundred had gathered on the pavements to pay their own final tribute to the woman who many referred to as “Derry’s First Lady”.
Those who worked with John Hume have said it was impossible to know him without also knowing Pat. This was underlined by their son Aidan during the service.
He told mourners: “Mum was at his right hand throughout his entire life — his best friend, his closest confidante, his loving wife, his trusted adviser, his political antenna.”
The applause followed the cortege as it wound its way along the streets, on its final journey towards the City Cemetery.
Following John Hume’s funeral last year, Pat Hume had travelled in a funeral car behind his hearse and acknowledged those who had come to say their own personal thank you following the death of her husband.
This time, they were saying a final goodbye to her.