Throngs attend state funeral for Gov. Edward Youde
HONG KONG (AP) _ Helicopters flew overhead, 17-gun salutes were fired and thousands of people lined the streets as Hong Kong gave a state funeral Tuesday to Gov. Edward Youde, who steered this British colony through turbulent times.
Acting Gov. David Akers-Jones, representing Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, said in a eulogy, ″No man could have committed himself with more sense of purpose than Sir Edward to the interests of Hong Kong and, in pursuing that commitment, no man has made a greater sacrifice.″
Youde was a member of the British negotiating team that concluded an agreement on returning Hong Kong to China in 1997, when Britain’s territorial lease expires.
There was political and economic uncertainty in Hong Kong after the negotiations began in July 1983, but confidence gradually was restored after Britain and China signed the agreement at the end of 1984.
Shuttle trips that the 62-year-old Youde made between Peking and London during and after the negotiations took a heavy toll and were believed to have contributed to his death.
Youde died in Peking last Thursday while on a trade mission.
The cause of death has not been disclosed, but he was believed to have died of a heart attack. He underwent open-heart surgery shortly before he became governor in May 1982.
Youde was Hong Kong’s 26th governor and the first to die in office.
The funeral, with full military honors, began when three helicopters flew over Government House and 10 guardsmen carried out the casket draped with the Union Jack.
A 17-gun salute was fired at one-minute intervals as the cortege, with the casket on a Landrover, drove slowly down the 660-yard route to St. John’s Cathedral.
About 1,000 policemen stood at attention along the route, which was lined on both sides by thousands of mourners.
After the funeral service another 17-gun salute was fired as the casket was driven to a crematorium.
The governor is survived by his wife, Lady Pamela, and two daughters, Jennifer and Deborah. Lady Pamela had requested privacy, and the body was cremated at a private family service. It was not clear whether the ashes would be taken back to Britain.
Timothy Renton, the minister in charge of Hong Kong, met briefly with Hong Kong policy makers to discuss the governor’s successor.
″We want to make quite certain that we get the right person in place for this key job,″ he told reporters.