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Hundreds pay tribute at the funeral of Crom Castle steward

By Cate McCurry

Published 05/03/2016

Noel with pop singer Paloma Faith
Noel with pop singer Paloma Faith
The funeral of Noel Johnston at Derryvullan Parish Church
Noel’s widow Amanda kisses a red rose before placing it on his coffin

The community of Fermanagh has been left mourning the sudden death of a well-known businessman and former manager of a castle that appeared in a BBC documentary.

Noel Johnston was the steward of Crom Castle's west wing and a star of Keeping The Castle, a 2013 programme about the landmark building.

He headed up the venue that was hailed as one of the most beautiful places in Northern Ireland and where celebrities - including singer Paloma Faith and comedian David Walliams - filmed the comedy series Blandings there.

Hundreds of tributes poured in for the father-of-three who was heavily involved in a number of organisations and charities across Co Fermanagh.

He was also a prominent member of the Orange Order and served as deputy district master in Newtownbutler and as secretary of Crom Castle LOL.

John Boyd, who first met Noel at Lisnaskea High School, paid warm tribute him, saying: "Noel was a character and, as I said many times, he would have given you the bite out of his mouth, his last penny in his pocket and, even on a bad day, the minute you saw him you just burst out laughing at him. There was just that character about him."

Mr Boyd told the Fermanagh Herald that Mr Johnston was a family man: "He doted on them, you wouldn't be into a conversation when he'd be chatting about Ashley or one of them, how they're doing, stuff like that."

Mr Johnston's death came just weeks after castle owner, the 6th Earl of Erne, passed away in December.

First Minister Arlene Foster was another who paid a heartfelt tribute to Mr Johnston: "Words cannot express how sorry I am with the news of Noel Johnston's death. The last time I was chatting to him was at the Orange awards in Enniskillen a couple of weeks ago and he was in good form; but today he has left this mortal life."

Noel was the husband of Amanda, father of Ashley, Jamie and Luke, son of Violet and the late David, and brother of Betty, Joan, Caroline and Cynthia

His well-attended funeral service was held on Tuesday in Lisbellaw Parish Church and was followed by interment in Derryvullan South Parish Churchyard, Tamlaght.

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