I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with Hardeep Singh Kohli’s obituary of Pat Hume (The Herald, September 24). Such a remarkable woman certainly deserves her place in history. She was a loving wife and mother and, by all accounts, a brilliant teacher. But she was also a very gifted politician in her own right. Indeed, it was often said that the only person who would ever stand a chance of beating John Hume in an election in Derry was his wife, Pat.

The late John Hume was one of the few politicians I met at Westminster whom I could count as a lasting friend. I also had the privilege of sharing time with him and Pat on numerous occasions after his retirement, when he suffered from dementia. For several years, Pat was his devoted carer and anyone who has cared for a loved one in that condition will appreciate the dedication, patience and commitment which that entails.

My happiest memory of Pat and John was May 22, 1998, when the Good Friday Agreement was endorsed by the people of Ireland in a referendum. I had dinner that evening in the company of Pat and John, who introduced me to Bishop Edward Daly. That evoked terrible memories of the same priest, the younger Father Daly who, in the face of lethal gunfire, was pictured waving a blood-stained handkerchief while courageously trying to administer the last rites to one of the victims of the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1972. That iconic image, which was seen by millions of people throughout the world, became an international symbol of the suffering of the people of Ireland.

More than a quarter of a century later, on that memorable May evening, there was a hope that Ireland at last was on the cusp of a new era, where the people of Ireland would live together in peace and harmony, whatever their religion or politics. There is still a long way to go but people like Pat and John Hume paved the way. They certainly have earned their place in history. “ Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”

Dennis Canavan, Bannockburn.


WHILE Lord Wallace, current Moderator of the General Assembly ("Church cannot support assisted dying", The Herald, September 27) and Michael Veitch of Christian Action Research and Education, Scotland (Letters, September 27) certainly reflect the official stance of their respective faiths, their views are not those held by the majority of church members nor churchgoers.

In all the polls on this issue, the majority of people with a faith consistently want a change in the law. Many senior religious figures also support assisted dying, including George Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury; Rabbi Jonathan Romain; the Rev Richard Holloway, a former Bishop of Edinburgh, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

By coincidence, at the weekend I received an email from an old pal from my Edinburgh University days in the 1960s, asking if I was the same Sheila Duffy he knew 55 years ago and whom he’d read about in the Canadian Medical Digest as a supporter of assisted suicide.

Alexander HG Paterson, who was a medical student when I knew him, is now a leading oncologist in Alberta. He wrote: “We have been doing this for years in Canada and are surprised it is not available in Scotland.

"Do you want me to write a letter to Nicola telling her how well it works here?”

There is nothing holy about agony.

Sheila Duffy, Glasgow.


AS a long-time CND campaigner I was hoping that the BBC drama Vigil would add to the awareness and dangers of nuclear weapons, but it produced the same old stereotypes of the "wicked Russians" who need to be opposed and the naive peace campers who don’t know they are being infiltrated by Russian spies; it was depressing ("Never mind the fine detail, this submarine thriller was a blast", The Herald, September 27).

There followed a documentary on BBC 4 of the real nuclear submarines being built at Barrow, which was equally depressing.

People in Barrow are justifiably proud of their skills in producing these technologically-advanced deliverers of death but think only of the jobs they bring to that part of the country. They even put up with a terrible risk when the nuclear reactor is switched on – they are given iodine tablets as a precaution. Why do they put up with it and why do we allow our beautiful country to be a battleground of the future?

Susan Martin, Glasgow.


BBC One Scotland has dropped the Tuesday edition of The One Show from its current schedules, replacing it with a repeat of River City. Scottish viewers are expected to go to the iPlayer to view The One Show, or use satellite/cable TV. Meanwhile the BBC Scotland channel transmits multiple repeats night after night.

These alternative methods for receiving TV come at an extra cost for wifi or mobile data. I hope this scheduling can be reviewed to enable viewing without unnecessary addition to the current licence fee paid.

William Moffat, Giffnock.


RE recent letters on imperial and metric units (September 21, 23, 24, 25 & 27), it is important to consider discipline in the classroom.

The advice given to a young teacher “give them an inch and they will take a mile” transforms to “give them 2.54cm and they will take 1.625km…”

Which has greater impact?

Iain MacInnes, Glasgow.