Obituary: John Hume

As SDLP leader, John Hume played a major role in bringing about Northern Ireland’s peace process.

When the IRA called a ceasefire in August 1994, it was greeted with jubilation and relief across Northern Ireland.

Despite enormous criticism, Hume always defended his decision to talk to Sinn Féin in order to build that peace process.

While many people were involved, the SDLP leader’s role was crucial.

“Politics,” he once said, “is the alternative to war.”

John Hume’s involvement in the cauldron of Northern Ireland politics began on the streets of his home city, Londonderry, where he was born in 1937.

Post-war education reforms enabled him to win a scholarship to the local grammar school and he trained briefly for the priesthood, before returning to work as a teacher.

John Hume in DerryJohn Hume on the streets during the earliest confrontations in Derry

 

Drawn into public life, Hume began to campaign on issues such as housing and helped set up a credit union in his native city. But more traumatic times lay ahead. Continue reading

Alan Parker, Versatile Film Director, Is Dead at 76

“Midnight Express” and “Mississippi Burning” brought him Oscar nominations, and many of his other films, including “Fame” and “The Commitments,” were acclaimed.

Alan Parker, who was nominated for the best-director Oscar for the 1978 film “Midnight Express” and again 10 years later for “Mississippi Burning,” died on Friday in South London. He was 76.

His death followed a long, unspecified illness, a spokeswoman for the British Film Institute said.

Read full story at NY TIMES: Alan Parker, Versatile Film Director, Is Dead at 76

Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn dies aged 103


The singer of We’ll Meet Again, who entertained British troops in World War Two, has died.

The singer was best known for performing hits such as We’ll Meet Again to troops on the front line in countries including India and Egypt.

Her family said they were “deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers”.

In a statement, they confirmed she died on Thursday morning surrounded by her close relatives.

Source: Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn dies aged 103

Julie Felix obituary

Folk singer whose TV appearances on The Frost Report in the 1960s made her a household name

Julie Felix performing at Westminster Abbey in London in 1966.

In 1966, at the height of the folk music boom in Britain, David Frost’s satirical television show The Frost Report featured a young American folk singer whose thoughtful songs, strong voice, charm and good looks endeared her to audiences, turning her into a household name. Within a year, Julie Felix, who has died aged 81, was hosting her own television series, with an impressive list of special guests.

Having landed in England in 1964, Felix performed in folk clubs in London, including the famous Troubadour in Earls Court, and on the strength of a tape of her singing that was sent to Decca, she was signed to the record label. Living on the third floor of a Chelsea block of flats, she was on her way to her debut album’s launch when she met Frost, a fifth floor resident, in the lift. Frost tagged along and, impressed by her singing, persuaded the BBC to engage her for his forthcoming television series.

In the meantime, Felix appeared on the Eamonn Andrews Show to sing the single Someday Soon from her eponymous first album; this was so popular with the television audience that she was invited back the following week. Taking a brief time out as a humanitarian ambassador for Christian Aid in Lebanon, Jordan and East Africa, Felix returned to London to appear at a sell-out solo concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

Two more albums followed quickly, leading the Times to call her “Britain’s first lady of folk”, thus ignoring her American origins. In 1967 Brian Epstein engaged Felix to perform with Georgie Fame: the Fame & Felix concerts were so successful that the weeklong run was extended to two weeks. Cat Stevens was the support.

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