Noah Donohoe: Heartbroken mum of Belfast teen told him 'he would change the world'

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  • June 28, 2020
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The mother of Belfast teenager Noah Donohoe “always told him that he would change the world”, his family has said in a heartbreaking tribute.

A body believed to be that of the missing 14-year-old was found in a storm drain in the Northern Ireland capital on Saturday.

In their first public statement, shared on Sunday, the Donohoe family expressed their “heartfelt gratitude for the support, outpouring of love, and empathy” they had received.

“From walking with us, both physically and spiritually, to feeling our pain, we recognise that everyone has lost Noah,” they said.

Body found in search for teenager Noah Donohoe

The statement went on to describe Noah as a “very special” boy who was his mother’s world.

They said: “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,” they added.

“Noah’s mummy always told him that he would change the world.”

(Left to right) Shona Donohoe, Fiona Donohoe the mother of Noah Donohoe, and Niamh Donohoe outside Musgrave Police Station in Belfast (PA)

Details of Noah’s funeral would be announced soon, the Donohoes confirmed.

“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,” they continued.

A vigil was held on Sunday where prayers were said for Noah and his family members. A total of 14 blue balloons were released in his memory.

A memorial was also held in Strabane, Co Tyrone, where the Donohoe family are originally from. One of Noah’s favourite song’s, Forever Young by Rod Stewart, was played.

Members of the local community joined efforts to find the missing teenager (PA)

Paul McBride, the principal of Saint Malachy’s College where Noah went to school, said the whole school mourned his loss.

He said the school was “deeply saddened” by the death of Noah who he described as a “natural leader” with a “caring nature, calm demeanour and big smile”.

Members of the search and rescue team who worked to help find Noah gathered outside the gates of St Malachy’s in Belfast on Sunday evening to pay tribute to him.

In a statement posted on the school website, Mr McBride said: “The whole college family mourns the tragic loss of our young Malachian, Noah Donohoe.

“Noah embraced fully all aspects of school life. He was an active and prominent member of the Music Department, and as a talented young cellist, Noah was able to enhance the lives of his fellow performers and also many an audience.

“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.

“He was also a keen basketball and rugby player both in and out of school.

“He has been described as the perfect gentleman who was also able to show a genuine competitive spirit on the court.

“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.”

On Saturday, police in Belfast announced that a body found in north Belfast was believed to be his.

Superintendent Muir Clark said that while an official identification has not been completed, they believe the body is the missing 14-year-old, who has not been seen since last Sunday evening.

Mr Clark appealed to the public to refrain from posting rumours about the teenager online.

“It is disappointing that I again need to call on people circulating a number of rumours about Noah’s disappearance, which are completely without foundation,” he said.

“This type of commentary and rumour is distressing for Noah’s family and is extremely unhelpful.

“An investigation into the circumstances of Noah’s disappearance is still continuing but there is no evidence to suggest foul play.

“If people post distasteful and patently untrue rumours on social media, we will investigate that.”

Fiona Donohoe (centre) stands behind police Superintendent Muir Clark (PA)

On Friday, officers found a bag containing the teenager’s laptop, which is being examined by specialist officers.

He also said that shorts and a coat belonging to Noah are still missing.

A huge search operation took place all week to find Noah, who was last seen in areas close to the Shore Road.

Police believe he may have fallen from his bicycle and hurt his head.