Noah Donohoe: Teenager was a gifted young man ‘loved by everyone’

Noah DonohoeImage copyright PSNI
Image caption Noah had been missing for almost a week

Noah Donahoe was a talented young man who was loved by everyone who knew him, his former basketball coach has said.

Michael Calo said the teenager’s death had “devastated” those he grew up with.

A body believed to be that of the missing Belfast teenager was found in a storm drain on Saturday, almost a week after he was last seen near the Shore Road in north Belfast.

Basketball coach Michael Calo said the 14-year-old was a gifted musician and athlete.

“Noah was just such a nice young man, everybody loved him,” he said.

“He was a lovely kid, a good athlete, a good musician, quite good at the cello, and just a really lovely young person.”

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption The teenager’s teammates paid tribute to Noah at Sunday’s vigil

Mr Calo’s twin sons, classmates of Noah’s at St Malachy’s College, played rugby and basketball and sang in the school choir with him.

“They are devastated, like most of the kids Noah would have grown up with,” he said.

He coached Noah when he played for Belfast Phoenix Basketball team.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Noah Donohoe’s mother, Fiona, said she shared a “special bond” with her son

A memorial basketball tournament in Noah’s memory is now being discussed, Mr Calo said.

“It would be something that could develop some money for charity, and I think that would be a nice memory to have of Noah,” he added.

On Sunday, Noah’s family issued a statement thanking the community for “the support, outpouring of love, and empathy we have received”.

His family said: “He was very special. It is very hard to do justice or honour the extraordinary relationship Noah and his mummy shared.”

Their statement added: “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.”

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption People showed their appreciation for the search teams who looked for Noah

The family said details of Noah’s funeral will follow.

Also on Sunday, hundreds of people, including members of Noah’s family and many of the volunteers who took part in searches, attended vigils for the teenager.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Sean McCarry, who led searches for Noah, said he had never before witnessed anything like Sunday’s vigil

Sean McCarry, from Community Search and Rescue, told the BBC on Monday he had never experienced anything like it before.

“It was one of the most moving and humbling experiences that I have had,” he said.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Pastor Brian Madden said Sunday’s vigil in north Belfast had allowed a grieving community to pay their respects

“We were welcomed to the services, as Noah’s family was, exactly as we were welcomed in throughout the five or six days of the search, with open arms from everybody”.

“It was obvious to see that everybody there was there united together, completely united right across the whole of north Belfast”.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Fourteen blue balloons were released in memory of Noah

Pastor Brian Madden, who spoke at a vigil, urged Noah’s teenage friends to “let their emotions out”.

“Don’t bottle it up, don’t hold it in, talk to someone, and be real, let it out, someone will listen to you,” he told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme.

Image caption A vigil was also held in Strabane, where the Donohoe family are originally from, on Sunday

Pastor Madden said the vigil had allowed a grieving community to come together and to pay their respects.

“Every single person that knew him spoke so very highly of this young man. It was incredible,” he said.

Police said on Saturday that they did not believe there was any foul play involved in the death.