| 18.7°C Belfast

Noah Donohoe's heartbroken mum always told her 'special' son he would change the world

The heartbroken family of tragic schoolboy Noah Donohoe have told how his mother always believed her “special” son would change the world.

The 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.

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

Close

Noaha’s aunt Niamh (left) and Shona at the vigil. Photograph by Declan Roughan

Noaha’s aunt Niamh (left) and Shona at the vigil. Photograph by Declan Roughan

Noaha’s aunt Niamh (left) and Shona at the vigil. Photograph by Declan Roughan

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

Noah, a Year 10 pupil at St Malachy’s College, had left his house in the Ormeau Road area of south Belfast last Sunday evening 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.

Arrangements are being made for the funeral.

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

Close

Noah Donohoe and his mum Fiona

Noah Donohoe and his mum Fiona

Noah Donohoe and his mum Fiona

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.”

Close

A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. Photo Pacemaker Press

A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. Photo Pacemaker Press

The vigil which was held in Strabane, County Tyrone in memory of 14 years old Noah Donohoe, whose mum Fiona is from the town. Picture Martin McKeown. 28.06.20

The vigil which was held in Strabane, County Tyrone in memory of 14 years old Noah Donohoe, whose mum Fiona is from the town. Picture Martin McKeown. 28.06.20

The vigil which was held in Strabane, County Tyrone in memory of 14 years old Noah Donohoe, whose mum Fiona is from the town. Picture Martin McKeown. 28.06.20

The vigil which was held in Strabane, County Tyrone in memory of 14 years old Noah Donohoe, whose mum Fiona is from the town. Picture Martin McKeown. 28.06.20

The vigil which was held in Strabane, County Tyrone in memory of 14 years old Noah Donohoe, whose mum Fiona is from the town. Picture Martin McKeown. 28.06.20

The vigil which was held in Strabane, County Tyrone in memory of 14 years old Noah Donohoe, whose mum Fiona is from the town. Picture Martin McKeown. 28.06.20

The vigil which was held in Strabane, County Tyrone in memory of 14 years old Noah Donohoe, whose mum Fiona is from the town. Picture Martin McKeown. 28.06.20

The vigil which was held in Strabane, County Tyrone in memory of 14 years old Noah Donohoe, whose mum Fiona is from the town. Picture Martin McKeown. 28.06.20

The vigil which was held in Strabane, County Tyrone in memory of 14 years old Noah Donohoe, whose mum Fiona is from the town. Picture Martin McKeown. 28.06.20

The vigil which was held in Strabane, County Tyrone in memory of 14 years old Noah Donohoe, whose mum Fiona is from the town. Picture Martin McKeown. 28.06.20

The vigil which was held in Strabane, County Tyrone in memory of 14 years old Noah Donohoe, whose mum Fiona is from the town. Picture Martin McKeown. 28.06.20

The vigil which was held in Strabane, County Tyrone in memory of 14 years old Noah Donohoe, whose mum Fiona is from the town. Picture Martin McKeown. 28.06.20

Father Michael Doherty who led prayers at the vigil which was held in Strabane, County Tyrone in memory of 14 years old Noah Donohoe, whose mum Fiona is from the town. Picture Martin McKeown. 28.06.20

Father Michael Doherty who led prayers at the vigil which was held in Strabane, County Tyrone in memory of 14 years old Noah Donohoe, whose mum Fiona is from the town. Picture Martin McKeown. 28.06.20

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. 
Pictured Leo Mallon.
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. Pictured Leo Mallon. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. 
Pictured Kaea Kimitaunga.
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. At 6.11pm the family held a momentÕs silence and let of 14 balloons. Pictured Kaea Kimitaunga. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST
28/6/2020
A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. 
Photo Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST 28/6/2020 A vigil at Saint MalachyÕs College for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. NoahÕs family, friends and search and rescue volunteers were present. Photo Pacemaker Press

Press Eye - Noah Donohoe - 28th June 2020
Photograph by Declan Roughan

Noaha’s aunt Niamh (left) and Shona at the vigil.

A candle lit vigil has held in memory of Noah Donohoe this evening North Belfast at Grove Playing Fields, close to the area where he was found.

Right across Northern Ireland, people have been left heartbroken by the death of 14-year-old Noah Donohoe.

The St Malachy's College pupil went missing on Sunday June 21 and after almost one week of searches, police recovered his body in North Belfast yesterday morning.

Press Eye - Noah Donohoe - 28th June 2020 Photograph by Declan Roughan Noaha’s aunt Niamh (left) and Shona at the vigil. A candle lit vigil has held in memory of Noah Donohoe this evening North Belfast at Grove Playing Fields, close to the area where he was found. Right across Northern Ireland, people have been left heartbroken by the death of 14-year-old Noah Donohoe. The St Malachy's College pupil went missing on Sunday June 21 and after almost one week of searches, police recovered his body in North Belfast yesterday morning.

A vigil in Grove Park for Noah Donohue, who tragically lost his life after going missing last Sunday. Photo Pacemaker Press

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”.

Noah Donohoe

Moving tributes were also paid yesterday 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”.

Close

(L-R) Clive Daly, Sean McGarry of Search and Rescue and Noah’s aunt Niamh at the gates of St Malachy's. Photograph by Declan Roughan

(L-R) Clive Daly, Sean McGarry of Search and Rescue and Noah’s aunt Niamh at the gates of St Malachy's. Photograph by Declan Roughan

(L-R) Clive Daly, Sean McGarry of Search and Rescue and Noah’s aunt Niamh at the gates of St Malachy's. Photograph by Declan Roughan

Sean McCarry, from Community Search and Rescue, described the outcome as a tragedy.

North Belfast MP John Finucane said: “This is tragic and heartbreaking news for his family and friends and all who knew him, as well as the entire community who were involved in the search for him over recent days.”

First Minister Arlene Foster said the news was “absolutely devastating”, adding: “My heart goes out to Noah’s family.”

Belfast Telegraph