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Noah Donohoe: Private funeral for Belfast teen

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Funeral: Noah Donohoe

Funeral: Noah Donohoe

Funeral: Noah Donohoe

Tragic schoolboy Noah Donohoe will be laid to rest after a private funeral in Belfast on Wednesday.

The 14-year-old boy's body was discovered on Saturday morning by a specialist search team in a storm drain in north Belfast.

Noah's funeral will take place at 11am in St Patrick's Church on Donegall Street, but will be strictly private at the request of his family due to coronavirus restrictions.

Hundreds of volunteers had joined the PSNI and the Community Rescue Service (CRS) in Northern Ireland in the search for Noah.

CRS regional commander Sean McCarry - who led the rescue team - said it had been the first time in 13 years of the organisation that people had so publicly demonstrated their appreciation for their efforts.

And for Sean, it is a gesture he will never forget. "Twice we had massive rounds of applause which was so emotional and moving and at the same time so uplifting," he said.

"It will stay in our hearts for years. That people so openly expressed their thanks to us is so amazing.

"Noah's mum said she thought he would change the world.

"He certainly changed our world." Health Minister Robin Swann and Chief Medical officer Dr Michael McBride both paid tribute to Noah during yesterday's Executive Covid-19 briefing.

"Like many I didn't know Noah or his family," the Health Minister said.

"But when the news started to filter through that a young boy was missing there was hardly a person in Northern Ireland, or a parent that didn't follow the search and hope and pray that he would be found safe and well.

"Sadly that wasn't to be.

"My thoughts are with Noah's family and school friends at this deeply distressing time."

Dr McBride said that "for anyone to lose a family member, particularly a child, is deeply distressing".

"To lose such a life is an absolute tragedy," he continued.

"As a parent, a father, I like everyone else in Northern Ireland felt a deep sense of sadness at the recent news." The discovery of Noah's body came after a week of police appeals and painstaking searches, at one point involving hundreds of members of the public.

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

In his death notice, Noah's family said "love has no boundaries" and that 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."

An online book of condolence in memory of Noah has now been opened by Belfast City Council.

Belfast Telegraph