University honours Derry citizens

Paddy said his love for the city has driven him in his community work
Image caption Paddy said his love for the city has driven him in his community work

Two of Londonderry's most noted citizens have been honoured by the University of Ulster.

On Tuesday, Paddy Doherty and Pat Hume received honorary degrees at the Millennium Forum for their services to community development.

Also know as Paddy Bogside, Paddy Doherty came to prominence in the city in the late 1960s as chairman of the Derry Citizens Defence Association.

Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle before he received his degree, he said when he declared the Bogside a no-go area in 1969 he thought he was more likely to go to jail, than to get a degree.

Paddy was on the front line during the Battle of the Bogside in 1969.

Three days of rising tensions between the nationalist residents of the Bogside and the RUC over an Apprentice Boys parade brought British troops on to the streets of Northern Ireland for the first time.

After three days of fighting, a truce was called and eventually the barricades surrounding the Bogside were replaced by a white line.

Paddy went on to work with the Irish Foundation for Human Development in the city.

This led to the establishment of the Derry Youth and Community Workshop, the North West Centre for Learning and Development and the Inner City Trust.

Mission impossible

"I've been involved in many things throughout my life, and I love Derry people and wanted to help," he said.

And he was never afraid to tackle projects others would deem impossible.

"Take the site of the O'Doherty Castle for instance, I came up with the idea of rebuilding it: always think above your means", he said.

"City Council didn't own it, then I went to the Honourable Irish Society in London and they knew who did.

"I phoned the man's office and he said 'talk to my lawyer'. So I spoke to the lawyer and said I have £15,000 to take that site off you. He said: 'You must be joking'."

Undeterred, Paddy headed for the owner's office and sat his ground until they met.

"After an hour he bounded in and said: 'I'm a businessman, I never mix business with charity. I must get the full value of this site or I have to give it away for nothing.'

"With that I caught his hand and said 'I'll take it'. We settled for £1."


Image caption Pat Hume gave up a career in teaching to work for husband John

Pat Hume has been at the forefront of the drive for peace for more than four decades.

A teacher for 25 years, she retired in 1979 to become office manager for her husband John, the SDLP politician and future Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Mrs Hume is a director of the Northern Ireland Memorial Fund and in 1998 was appointed to the RTE Authority.

Recognised as her husband's "rock", she was at his side from the early Civil Rights days, through the worst of the Troubles when their home became a target, to the late 1990s when the SDLP helped shape a new political landscape in Northern Ireland.