Hundreds attend funeral for lawyer Paul McBride

Celtic manager Neil Lennon (right) helps carry Paul McBride's coffin Celtic manager Neil Lennon (right) helps carry Paul McBride's coffin

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Hundreds of people from politics, the law and sport have attended the funeral of one of Scotland's most prominent and respected lawyers.

Paul McBride QC died in his sleep while on a business trip in Lahore, Pakistan, on 4 March. He was 47.

A requiem mass was held on Monday morning at St Aloysius in Glasgow.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon, a close friend of Mr McBride's, was one of the coffin bearers. First Minister Alex Salmond also attended.

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

Natural causes

Both had been at a wedding on 3 March but Mr McBride returned to his room early, feeling unwell.

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

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

Paul McBride QC Mr McBride died of natural causes in a Pakistan hotel room

During the service at St Aloysius, in Glasgow's Garnethill area, mourners heard a tribute from Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland.

He 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.

Mr Mulholland 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 in the 1990s.

'Real talent'

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.

Alex Salmond comforts Mr McBride's friend and colleague Aamer Anwar Alex Salmond comforts Mr McBride's friend and colleague Aamer Anwar

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'."

More than 500 mourners packed into St Aloysius on the city's Rose Street.

Among them were Mr Lennon, whom Mr McBride had represented and who was a close personal friend.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell and a number of first team players also attended as a mark of respect to one of the club's highest profile supporters.

The service also heard from Mr McBride's close friend Tony Graham, who was one of the best men at the lawyer's commitment ceremony to partner Gary.

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

'Outstanding figure'

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.

First Minister Alex Salmond, who attended the service, later said: "Paul McBride was an outstanding figure in Scottish public life, and the attendance of so many people from different walks of life at today's funeral service is testament to the esteem and affection with which he was held.

"Paul's closest friends spoke well of him today, and Scotland should heed their words of respect and tolerance.

"Paul's death at such an early age has been a tragic loss to Scotland as a whole - but of course the greatest loss is to those who knew and loved him best, which is why my thoughts today are with Paul's partner, parents and family at this very sad time."

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