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'Love has no boundaries' - family of Noah Donohoe says as details of private funeral announced

A private funeral will be held for tragic schoolboy Noah Donohoe on Wednesday, his family has announced.

he 14-year-old’s body was discovered on Saturday morning by a specialist search team in a storm drain in North Belfast.

It followed a week of police appeals and painstaking searches, at one point involving hundreds of members of the public.

Noah’s funeral will take place on July 1 at 11am in St Patrick’s Church on Donegall Street in Belfast and will be strictly private due to coronavirus restrictions.

His family have asked for donations in lieu of flowers to Northern Ireland Action for Children, care of O’Kanes Funeral Directors.

In his death notice, Noah’s family said “love has no boundaries” and said their son’s love reached “the selfless hearts of North Belfast and beyond as they showed overwhelming compassion and empathy in bringing Noah home”.

“Noah’s beautiful pure young soul fills the hearts of his Mother Fiona, his aunts Niamh and Shona and their beautiful children and his uncle Gearoid.

“He comforts his grandparents Margot, Gerry and Linda and his beautiful strong friends. He will be safe in the hugs of his aunt Siobhan in heaven.”

They also said Noah was “blessed” to be a Year 10 pupil at St Malachy’s College.

Meanwhile, an online book of condolence in memory of Noah Donohoe has been opened at Belfast City Council by Lord Mayor of Belfast Alderman Frank McCoubrey.

“I was so deeply saddened to hear the news about Noah, and I know that I speak for the entire city in expressing condolences to Noah’s family and friends,” he said.

“It is incredibly sad to see the loss of such a gifted and well-loved young man, and as a father myself, I cannot begin to imagine the anguish and pain at the loss of a child.

“I would like to pay tribute to the community of north Belfast who have come together, helping in the search for Noah, and also to the PSNI and Community Rescue Service who have worked tirelessly in recent days.”

On Sunday night Noah’s aunts Niamh and Shona joined a vigil at Grove Park, where a grieving community paid tribute to the teenager.

In a statement, his relatives reflected on the “extraordinary bond” between Noah and his mother, Fiona, adding: “They were each other’s world.”

Noah had left his house in the Ormeau Road area of south Belfaston the evening of June 21 on his bicycle and travelled across the city.

Despite a huge search operation, his whereabouts remained a mystery until the tragic weekend discovery.

It is still not known why he entered the drain, but police have said they do not believe there was any foul play.

One line of inquiry is that the teenager either took shelter in the drain or that he was concussed and disorientated following an earlier fall from his bike.

A GoFundMe online appeal set up by a family friend to help with the expenses had reached over £50,000.

In a statement, the Donohoe family said: “Noah’s mummy always told him that he would change the world.

“He was very special. It is very hard to do justice or honour the extraordinary relationship Noah and his mummy shared.

“In his 14 years his mummy got so much from their special bond, he taught his mummy so much. They were each other’s world.”

The Donohoe family said they needed to “express our heartfelt gratitude for the support, outpouring of love, and empathy we have received”.

“From walking with us, both physically and spiritually, to feeling our pain, we recognise that everyone has lost Noah,” they added.

“Noah loved his school and his friends at school, and we know that they will be grieving too and they need to say goodbye too.

“Eventually we will come back to people individually to express our overwhelming gratitude.”

Paying tribute to all those involved in the search, the family added they “wish to say thank you to each and everyone of you from the bottom of our hearts”.

Moving tributes were also paid on Sunday by the principal of St Malachy’s College.

Paul McBride said they were mourning the “tragic loss” of a “true Malachian”.

He said Noah “embraced fully all aspects of school life”, describing him as an active member of the music department and a talented cellist as well as a keen basketball and rugby player.

“He has been described as the perfect gentleman who was also able to show a genuine competitive spirit on the court,” Mr McBride recalled.

“One of his teachers and coach said that Noah had a heart of a lion, being able to express himself on the pitch, shouting, laughing and having fun with his friends, whilst in class he was normally measured and modest.

“He was a natural leader who led by example. His caring nature, calm demeanour and big smile were some of his great gifts that helped others do their best.”

Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor described Noah as a “loving and gifted young man” who brought joy and blessing to all who knew him.

“Words cannot begin to describe the experience of distress and sense of pain and heartache that the Donohoe family are feeling at this time,” he said.

Bishop Treanor said those who helped in the search and the wider community “have come to learn about the life of a talented, loving and gifted young man who brought so much joy and blessing to his family, his friends, his classmates and teachers in St Malachy’s College, and all those who knew him”.

Belfast Telegraph

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