Declan Donnelly paid tribute to his brother, telling the crowd his family “can’t believe he’s gone”.

another Dermot Donnelly, who recently celebrated 30 years of ministry in the Catholic Church, died in hospital earlier this month after a long illness.

On Friday, hundreds of people gathered at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Newcastle for the requiem mass of Fr.

Declan helped carry his brother’s coffin into the cathedral, while his friend and TV partner Ant McPartlin arrived separately.

The couple embraced in the street after the service and there was a standing ovation as the hearse drove away.

Father Dermot (55) was best known for his work with youth and youth ministry.

Those present at his funeral heard that he was a “gifted priest” who “devoted himself every day to the service of others.”

Paying tribute to his brother at the service, Declan fought back tears as he said: “Sadly our world is a little bit worse off today because Dermat is no longer with us.

“He had so much more he wanted to do, so many lives he needed to change.

“We can’t believe he’s gone, we still can’t understand why he’s gone, but we believe God took him away because his talents were needed elsewhere.

“We as a family will miss him beyond measure.”

He thanked the congregation for “all the amazing words of tribute and support”, saying the family were “simply overwhelmed by the kindness we’ve been shown”.

He said Father Dermot was the middle child from the age of seven and told how they grew up in a three-bedroom house in Newcastle, with four boys in one room and three girls in another.

“Dermot and I were confined to the bottom bunks as the youngest boys, and on the occasions when my five or six-year-old overactive imagination created monsters under the bed, I would run out of bed, jump onto Dermot’s bunk, and he would soothe me in the middle of the night with his made-up stories,” he said.

Declan praised his brother’s “fantastic sense of humor and fantastic sense of adventure” and said his desire to be a priest was “definitely there from an early age” as their mother Anna recalled how he wanted to “play at Mass” as a child.

He said Fr Dermot was passionate about his work with young people, “giving back [them] hope, spiritual guidance and a sense of self-worth.”

He also joked about his brother’s considerable fundraising efforts, saying: “You know, Dermot monetized it.”

The Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, Robert Byrne, offered his condolences to the mother and siblings of Fr. Dermat, as well as relatives who came from Ireland.

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