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Cardinal mourns death of 'good and faithful servant'

posted on 11 July 2006

The Archbishop of Westminster has paid tribute to Patrick Victory, for many years adviser to Cardinal Basil Hume, who died on Monday morning.


“Paddy was a good and faithful servant of the Church,” Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor said. “He was of enormous help to my predecessor, especially in his battle for justice for the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six; and later to to me, as a wise counsellor and good friend. I shall miss him very much. May he rest in peace.”


The Cardinal added:  'I want to express my deep sympathy with his wife, Patricia, and his children with an assurance of my prayers for them at this sad time.'


Victory was born in 1919, and educated at the Salesian college in Farnborough. He joined the army on the outbreak of the War in 1939, and after Dunkirk was commissioned into the Royal Horse Artillery. He joined the 8th Army in the Western Desert in May 1942. He saw action at the battle of El Alamein, took part in invasion of Italy in September 1943, and landed on D-Day in 1944.


He was awarded an immediate Military Cross for bravery in Sept 1944. After the war he became a regular soldier, serving in staff posts. He saw action again in Korea from 1951-53, and was awarded the OBE and American Bronze Star Medal for is role as a Divisional artillery officer. He commanded his regiment in Kenya from 1962-4.


After leaving the army in 1964 he was secretary to the Horse Race Betting and Levy Board and then of the British Nutrition Foundation. On his retirement in 1986 he applied to do some voluntary work at Westminster Cathedral and much to his own surprise found himself invited to work as an unpaid volunteer in the Cardinal’s office. He continued to do this part time until the Cardinal’s death in 1999. He subsequently assisted Cardinal Cormac in his initial period as Archbishop, and continued to advise him informally until his final period of grave illness.


He will be remembered for co-ordinating the work of the deputation assembled by Cardinal Hume, which included two former Law Lords, Lord Devlin and Lord Scarman, together with two former Home Secretaries, Lord Jenkins and Lord Merlyn Rees, in their campaign for the Court of Appeal to review the Guildford Four cases. In the end, and despite fierce opposition from the Home Office, their efforts were successful and in 1989 the convictions were quashed. The inquiry that resulted from this and a similar result on the Birmingham Six  cases led to the establishment of the Criminal Cases Review commission, and has had an enduring impact on the criminal justice system in this country.  Paddy wrote his own account of this story in his book Justice and Truth: the Guildford Four and Maguire Seven.  


Charles Wookey, now assistant general-secretary at the bishops’ conference of England and Wales in Eccleston Square, was his colleague in the Cardinal’s Public Affairs Office from 1988-2001. Wookey said:


“In a quiet and unsung way, Paddy Victory was a remarkable  servant of the Catholic Church.  Cardinal Hume greatly valued his acute and objective mind, the wisdom of his wide experience, and his shrewd judgement of people and situations.  He was savvy about the media and had a great sense of humour with a fund of jokes that only he could tell the Cardinal because he was older than him.  Once embarked on a goal he was tenacious, as his unstinting work for the Cardinal on behalf of the Guildford Four attested. After it was over one of things that pleased him most was receiving from Lord Scarman a copy of a lecture he had given with an inscribed flyleaf “For Paddy Victory - who has done more than most to secure justice be done in our country”.


Paddy Victory’s funeral, which will be officiated by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, will be held on 31 July at St Elizabeth’s RC church in Richmond, Surrey, at 11am. 

Contact Details:
Austen Ivereigh
Director for Public Affairs
Telephone: 020 7798 9045 or 07905 224860
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posted on 11 July 2006

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