The family of Noah Donohoe said his mother ‘always told him that he would change the world’ as hundreds gathered to pay tribute to the schoolboy.
The body of missing Belfast teenager Noah Donohoe was found in a storm drain on Saturday, six days after he vanished while cycling through the city.
Hundreds gathered at a vigil for the 14-year-old on Sunday, where prayers were said for Noah and his family and 14 blue balloons were released in his memory.
The Donohoe family said, in a statement on Sunday, that his mother, Fiona, ‘always told him that he would change the world’.
A vigil was held for Noah Donohoe on Sunday (above) where prayers were said for the 14-year-old and his family and 14 blue balloons were released in his memory
Noah Donohoe’s family said, in a statement on Sunday, that his mother, Fiona (centre), ‘always told him that he would change the world’
They also expressed their ‘heartfelt gratitude for the support, outpouring of love, and empathy’ they received in the past few days.
The statement said: ‘From walking with us, both physically and spiritually, to feeling our pain, we recognise that everyone has lost Noah.
‘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.’
Some people, including Noah’s aunt Shona, lit candles for the schoolboy at the vigil, which was 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.
The family said: ‘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.’
The Police Service of Northern Ireland believe they found the body of missing teenager Noah Donohoe (above) on Saturday, six days after he vanished while cycling through Belfast
Noah’s aunt Shona (left) lit a candle in memory of the schoolboy at the vigil in Strabane, Co Tyrone, where the Donohoe family are originally from
Noah’s school principle Paul McBride said the whole of Saint Malachy’s College mourned his loss.
He added 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’.
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.’
Noah left home around 5.30pm on Sunday and was last seen heading towards north Belfast
Members of 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.
The family said that details of the funeral would be announced soon.
Northern Ireland police found a body in north Belfast they believe is the missing 14-year-old on Saturday, but official identification has not been completed.
Superintendent Muir Clark appealed to the public to refrain from posting rumours about the teenager, who has not been seen since last Sunday evening, online.
He said: ‘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.
Noah’s family said that details of the funeral would be announced soon. His mother Fiona is pictured centre outside Musgrave Road PSNI station in Belfast
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
‘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.’
On Friday, officers found a bag containing the teenager’s laptop, which is being examined by specialist officers.
Mr Clark 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.