Belfast Telegraph

TV's Dec in mourning for father

Declan Donnelly has been left devastated by the death of his father.

The TV star's dad Alphonsus Donnelly died in hospital last Friday at the age of 78.

Tributes have been paid to the father-of-seven, who was known affectionately as Foncey to his family and friends.

Staff at the Tyneside Irish Centre in Newcastle, where Mr Donnelly worked for many years as a steward, said he would be greatly missed.

A death notice has gone up at the centre, on the Gallowgate in the shadow of St James' Park.

Tony Corcoran, centre secretary and organiser of the Irish Festival, said he remembered I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! presenter Dec singing Irish songs at his father's knee.

He told The Evening Chronicle in Newcastle: "It is so sad to see him go. I know he suffered towards the end.

"Looking back when his boys were singing little Irish songs, who'd have thought they'd become such stars like Declan?"

Mr Donnelly moved with his wife Anne to Newcastle from Northern Ireland in the 1950s. They set up home in the working-class Cruddas Park area of the city, where they raised their four sons, Martin, Eamonn, Dermott and Declan, and three daughters, Patricia, Moyra and Camalia.

A Requiem Mass will be held at St Michael's RC Church in Westmorland Road, Newcastle, on August 27 followed by interment at the city's West Road Cemetery.

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