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U2 Members Sing at Funeral of Bono's Father

Irish Times, August 24, 2001


Members of U2 sang at a funeral for Bono's father today.

Mr. Bob Hewson (75) died earlier this week from cancer after a long illness.

He was buried today in the Old Balgriffin Cemetery in Co. Dublin after an hour-long mass at the Church of the Assumption in the nearby fishing port of Howth.

Bono, his wife Ali and their four children, and his brother Norman led the mourners.

There too were the three other members of U2 -- the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen.

Also present were a number of leading figures from the music and showbusiness worlds, including U2 manager Paul McGuinness, ex-Boyzone singer Ronan Keating and veteran singer Ronnie Drew of the Dubliners group.

Another member of the congregation was former Irish presidential candidate Adi Roche -- who works closely with Ali Hewson to raise funds for the child victims of the Chernobyl nuclear accident -- and Gerry Corr, father of the Corrs.

The funeral went ahead just 24 hours before the start of U2's first Irish concert for three years.

The show is being staged tomorrow at Slane Castle in Co. Meath before an audience of tens of thousands.

Today the Catholic Church at Howth was packed to capacity for the requiem mass.

Small groups of local people and U2 fans stood outside in the rain.

Earlier this week, after hearing of his father's death, Bono paid tribute at a concert in Earls Court, central London, to the man he said had been a support and inspiration to him throughout his career.

He dedicated the song "Kite" to him and told the thousands of fans: "I want to thank my old man, my father, for giving me this voice.

"He was a fine tenor and always said if I had his voice who knows what might happen."

Mr. Hewson's own singing prowess was highlighted at today's service by the presence of the Coolock Music Society of which he was a member for many years.

In an address to the service, Bono recalled that his father's links with the society had led to him being known as the "merry widow."

He told the congregation: "Dad had a beautiful tenor voice."

After the service two of Bono's U2 colleagues, Mullen and the Edge, helped him, together with his brother, to carry the coffin of Mr. Hewson from the church.

On the steps outside the building Bono and his family spent half an hour in the rain being greeted by wellwishers and sympathisers.

Near the end of the mass Bono and the Edge sang the song they dedicated to Mr. Hewson, called "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own."

© Irish Times, 2001. All rights reserved.

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