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Memorial service for ‘Paddy’ Hughes

London SE1 website team

A service of celebration for the life of Sylvia 'Paddy' Hughes - mother of North Southwark & Bermondsey MP Simon Hughes - has been held at Southwark Cathedral.

'Paddy' Hughes died in Birmingham in early November aged 86. She was founder of The Samaritans in Hereford where she lived.

Her son Simon, speaking at the opening of the service, said that his mother loved the cathedral and was often there at Christmas.

The memorial service was not originally planned but had been requested by her London friends. An intimate gathering in the choir stalls turned into a well attended service of thanksgiving. Many of those present were Southwark Liberal Democrats who knew Mrs Hughes not just as a familar figure in Bermondsey when staying with her son but as an indefatigible election campaigner.

Simon Hughes's brother, former Southwark councillor Dr Jamie Hughes, explained that his mother had been named Paddy from an early age by her father after the song 'Paddy the next best thing'. He had wanted a son.

Southwark Council Leader Nick Stanton was among those paying formal tribute during the service.

Readings included the works of Shakespeare and Dickens to reflect Paddy Hughes' love of Southwark's heritage. Simon Hughes explained that Jerusalem was being included at the close because William Blake had written it whilst walking up Blackfriars Road and it was also the week of his 250th anniversary.

The address was given by Canon Ted Roberts, former vicar of St James's Bermondsey, who who had welcomed Simon and his mother to his church over 25 years ago. Canon Roberts took as his text words from Psalm 19, "Their voice goes out into all the earth", which was read by Jewish representative Maurine Rebak.

Sheryl Anderson, minister of Bermondsey Central Hall Methodist church, was among those leading prayers. Canon Andrew Nunn, cathedral sub dean, welcomed the congregation and gave the blessing.

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