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Friday, June 25, 1999 Published at 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK

'Humble' Hume's final farewell

Prime Minister Tony Blair attended with his wife and son

Click here to watch the funeral live.

Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Archbishop of Canterbury were among the thousands of mourners at Westminster Cathedral for the funeral of Cardinal Basil Hume.

Cardinal Hume funeral
The cathedral was filled to its 2,000 capacity for the service as people paid their last respects, and many more packed the piazza outside.

Mourners outside the cathedral joined in singing the first hymn as the service was relayed by loudspeakers. Some clutched their rosary beads and several women broke down in tears as the service progressed.

The BBC's Emily Buchanan: Cardinal Hume would have been moved by all the attention
The Cardinal, Archbishop of Westminster and head of the Roman Catholic Church in England, died on 17 June aged 76, from abdominal cancer.

The mourners heard the Cardinal described as a "humble" man - but one who had been a "rock of spiritual strength".

[ image: The Pope's representative, Cardinal Edward Cassidy, led the Mass]
The Pope's representative, Cardinal Edward Cassidy, led the Mass
And delivering the homily the Right Reverend John Crowley, Bishop of Middlesbrough - the Cardinal's first private secretary and one of his closest friends - said the funeral provided an opportunity for mourners to "say our thank you to God for giving us a shepherd after God's own heart".

The Cardinal was held in high-esteem, and not just by those in the Catholic Church - that esteem was reflected by the mourners who crowded into the ticket-only service.

Mr Blair attended the funeral with his wife Cherie, a practising Roman Catholic, and their eldest son, Euan, 15. Also present were the Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, Opposition leader William Hague, Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown, and several other senior politicians.

[ image: Rt Rev John Crowley was one of the Cardinal's closest friends]
Rt Rev John Crowley was one of the Cardinal's closest friends
Religious leaders included the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey. The Chief Rabbi, Professor Jonathan Sacks, arrived early for the funeral. In accordance with Jewish law, he watched proceedings in Archbishop's House.

Iqbal Sacranie, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, also attended.

It is customary that the Monarch does not attend public funerals in Britain. But the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk attended, as did Princess Michael of Kent, herself a Catholic.

Shadow Home Secretary Ann Widdecombe, who converted from the Anglican to the Catholic church, was also among the mourners. "He was a very human man and that came over. He was a very humble man who was able to talk to everyone," she said as she arrived.

Cardinal Edward Cassidy: There have been tributes to his humility and holiness
About 500 Roman Catholic Clergy co-celebrated the Mass which was led by the Pope's representative, Cardinal Edward Cassidy.

The service began with the singing of Praise to the Holiest in the Height, followed by the plainsong introit from the Mass for the Dead, Requiem Aeternam, sung by Westminster Cathedral choir.

[ image: Cardinal Hume died at the age of 76]
Cardinal Hume died at the age of 76
The first reading was given by the Cardinal's nephew, William Charles, who was among those present when he died in the hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in north London.

Primary school teacher Maeve Lynch, 26, of Finchley, north London, who became friends with the Cardinal on a youth pilgrimage to Lourdes, also gave a reading.

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Cardinal Hume's funeral homily in full

Basil Hume: From monk to Cardinal

Cardinal Hume through the years

Cardinal Hume: Monastic aristocrat

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The Catholic way of death

Pope's tribute to Hume - full text

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