The mother of Gerry Conlon, one of the Guilford Four, has died.

Sarah Conlon, a tireless campaigner in the fight to clear her son's name, died aged 82 after a long battle with cancer.

The mother-of-three, who lived all her life in west Belfast, fought for justice for Gerry and also her late husband Giuseppe who was jailed after travelling to England to meet lawyers about his son's imprisonment. Giuseppe Conlon died in prison.

The Guildford Four were freed in 1989 and eventually, after Mrs Conlon spent 16 years campaigning, they received a public apology in 2005 from then Prime Minister Tony Blair.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan, who was central in securing the apology, described Sarah Conlon as a true heroine of our age.

'Of no-one can the words 'patience of a saint' be more true and she was not just distinguished by her patience,' Mr Durkan said.

'This small lady of frail frame had huge reserves of faith, fortitude and remarkable forgiveness.

'What Sarah, Guiseppe and Gerry Conlon and their family had to endure physically, psychologically and personally would have given Sarah more cause to hate than most.'

The Guildford Four - Gerry Conlon, Paul Hill, Carole Richardson and Paddy Armstrong - were jailed for life in 1975 for an IRA bombing campaign that killed five people and injured 65.

Sarah's husband Giuseppe was jailed later that year.

He had one lung, emphysema and had just undergone chemotherapy and died in prison five years later.

Finally, 16 years after their release, Mr Blair said sorry for the miscarriage of justice in a television recording from his office.

Mr Durkan said Sarah Conlon fought her campaign with dignity, decency and determination for her son and late husband.

'When Sarah and Gerry asked me to secure an apology from Tony Blair it was clear that she needed it for Gerry, and Gerry needed it for her. But they both wanted it for Guiseppe,' the SDLP leader said.

'In her dignity, determination and decency she was a shining example to us all.'