Ant McPartlin’s moving tribute to Father Dermott Donnelly

Ant McPartlin has paid tribute to Father Dermott Donnelly, saying he was the “kindest and wisest man I knew” after his death at the age of 55.

The Catholic priest and brother of McPartlin’s presenting partner Declan Donnelly died in hospital on Friday after a short illness.

TV star McPartlin (46) wrote on Twitter: “Fr Dermott, you were the kindest, wisest man I knew. Rest in peace my friend. You will never be forgotten.

“My thoughts, prayers and love are with your wonderful family.

“The world has lost a special man. X A.”

The Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle was the first to announce news of Father Dermott’s death on Friday afternoon and Declan, 46, paid tribute to his late brother shortly thereafter.

He wrote on Twitter: “I am heartbroken to report that my beloved brother Father Dermott, @TweeterPriest, sadly passed away this afternoon.

“We are all more than devastated.

“Thank you for your messages of sympathy and support, they are greatly appreciated DD.”

In 2015, Father Dermott officiated at his brother’s wedding to Ali Astall in Newcastle in a star-studded ceremony.

A statement from the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle said: “It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of Father Dermott Donnelly, who died peacefully in hospital this afternoon.

“It’s a big shock for all of us.

“Please pray for the rest of his soul and keep his family, especially his mother, in your prayers at this difficult time.”

Fr. Dermott recently celebrated 30 years of service in his parish and community, where he is best known for his work with young people and youth ministry.

He was a member of the clergy at St. Joseph’s Church in Stanley, County Durham.

Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle Robert Byrne said: “He will be sorely missed for his energy, enthusiasm and ability to engage with everyone who met him”.

He added: “This is especially true in his work with young people and youth ministry in the diocese where he brought many disadvantaged and discouraged young people to Christ.

“He really lived his faith and gave so much for others.

“We will remember him with great gratitude and all that he selflessly gave.”

Bishop Robert noted that as he was born and raised in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, Father Dermott and his extended family are well known to the local community.

He added, “Our prayers and condolences should go out to those who will be grieving so much at this moment.”

The Catholic parishes of Stanley, Dipton & Byermoor also shared the news, asking parishioners to “pray for the rest of his soul.”

The group announced Thursday that Father Dermott was “extremely unwell” at the hospital and had asked for prayers for him.

A similar message was posted on the Facebook page of the Pontop Partnership, a group of 10 Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

Following news of his death, those who knew and had worked with him shared a flood of loving tributes on social media.

During his career Father Dermott was a supporter of the charity The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (Cafod), the official charity of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Paying tribute to Father Dermott on behalf of the charity, Cafod Education Director Monica Conmee said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Father Dermott Donnelly, a great friend of Cafod who witnessed a burning passion and commitment to abundance from was life for all.

“Father Dermott chose to stand in the light and through his immense talent and gifts so generously led thousands of young people to experience the love and light of God in their own lives and inspired them to share it with others .

“Unforgettable pinnacle moments for so many young Catholics were the Flame events at Wembley Arena, where Dermott was a guiding light and a driving force.

“We are very privileged to have worked closely with Father Dermott to enable the poor and vulnerable to be heard.

“Fr Dermott will shine bright forever.

“May the angels come to greet one of your own.”

In 2014, Father Dermott appeared on Songs Of Praise alongside CBBC’s Hacker T Dog to answer questions about the Church sent in by CBBC viewers.

St. Joseph’s Church in Stanley will hold a meeting on July 8th at 6pm to pray for Fr. Dermott. Ant McPartlin’s moving tribute to Father Dermott Donnelly

Fry Electronics Team

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