The mother of a schoolboy found dead in a storm drain has said he gave her a lifetime of love in his 14 years, his funeral has heard.
The tribute from Fiona Donohoe about her son Noah was relayed by a priest during his Requiem Mass at St Patrick’s Church in Belfast on Wednesday.
Well-wishers lined Donegall Street outside the church while a small private service took place inside.
The cortege later travelled to Noah’s school, St Malachy’s College on the Antrim Road, where the Community Rescue Service who found his body formed a guard of honour along the road.
There was spontaneous applause from the crowds packed on to the footpaths as the hearse containing Noah’s white coffin topped with white flowers and his photograph passed by.
Inside the grounds of the school, pupils formed a guard of honour.
Noah’s body was found on Saturday, six days after he went missing in north Belfast.
Police believe he might have suffered a head injury after falling off his bicycle and could have been disorientated when he entered the drain.
The search for the 14-year-old schoolboy brought together hundreds of people from across the city and beyond, uniting both sides of the community in a common purpose.
The homily of Father Michael McGinnity delivered at the funeral service on Wednesday was circulated to the wider public by the church.
“Growing up in Belfast, Noah met life with a sense of wonder at everything around him and in him,” he said.
“He had a natural curiosity about life. Every day he wanted to know more about the world and his place in it. Noah was the kind of boy who was just full of the joy of living.
“Whether he was on the basketball court or playing his cello or just having fun with friends, he savoured every moment.
“He was passionate about everything he turned his hand to. And he wanted everyone to share that passion with him.
“So much has been written and said about Noah that has touched the hearts of everyone in this city.
“But what has stayed with me are the words of Fiona when she spoke to me last Sunday night. She said ‘I have been so blessed. Noah was a beautiful soul with a beautiful mind. He poured a whole lifetime of love into my life in 14 short years.’
“What a wonderful tribute from a mother to her son who is such a godsend to her.”
Large crowds of people line the Antrim Road in Belfast as the funeral of Noah Donohoe paused at his school, St Malachy's College flanked by classmates and members of the community rescue service. @pa pic.twitter.com/rTkA44A0Jb— Niall Carson (@niallcarsonpa) July 1, 2020
Noah’s family had encouraged people to gather outside his school as the cortege was due to pass by following the service.
Flowers and other tokens of remembrance have been left at the gates of the school, including a rugby ball and a basketball.
There was also a round of applause for members of the Community Rescue Service who spent days staging a major search for Noah last week.