University leader’s funeral set for Thursday

Queens University Belfast Vice-Chancellor Professor Patrick Johnston
Queens University Belfast Vice-Chancellor Professor Patrick Johnston

The vice-chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast will be laid to rest on Thursday after his sudden death on Sunday at the age of 58.

Professor Patrick Johnston was described as an “enormous loss” to the field of cancer research after news of his sudden passing emerged.

It is understood the highly regarded academic died shortly after going cycling in Donegal.

Prof Richard English, the pro-vice-chancellor for internationalisation and engagement at Queen’s, was amongst those who spoke highly of his colleague.

He said: “Paddy Johnston’s contribution to Queen’s University, and to the wider life of Northern Ireland, was wide-ranging and tremendously important.”

Sir Harpal Kumar, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, paid tribute to Prof Johnston’s work in the field of cancer research.

He said: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the untimely and sudden death of Professor Patrick Johnston.

“He was regarded as one of the world’s leading cancer researchers – his passing is an enormous loss.”

From the Waterside area of Londonderry, Professor Johnston was educated at St Columb’s College in his home city. He is survived by his wife and four sons.

His Requiem Mass will take place at 11am in St Brigid’s Parish Church, Derryvolgie Avenue, in south Belfast. He will be laid to rest in Desertegney Cemetery in Buncrana. Co Donegal.