Tributes continued to pour in last night for Derry comedy legend Noel McBride.
The much loved 71-year-old had entertained generations in the North West with his unforgettable one liners and capacity to look on the brighter side of life. The father, grandfather and great grandfather, had celebrated his 50th year of marriage to his wife Eleanor in February of this year and his son Tony ‘Conka’ said last night the family have memories of their late father that they will never forget.
“Most of all, my father was a hard working man who was just full of love,” said Tony. “Among the memories we’ll cherish will be all those trips to see Derry City, when the match often played second fiddle to all the craic we’d have on the journey. As a family we’ll always remember our annual pilgrimage to Bundoran as well and the way he spoiled all his grandchildren and great grandchildren, always turning up with a smile and a bag of sweets.
“This is a really difficult time but it helps us to have all those good memories, and to know that the wider Derry public have great memories of him as well. It’s impossible to keep up with all the messages of sympathy we’re getting.”
Speaking on behalf of the Matchday Management Team & Stewards at Derry City, Billy Scampton said: “We want to extend our deepest sympathies to the McBride Family on this very sad news of Noel’s passing. A life long ‘Candystripe’ Noel will be greatly missed by us all at Brandywell. Another legend gone, we are all the poorer for his loss. May He Rest In Peace.”
Mark Durkan, MP, a lifelong friend of Noel’s said: “Noel was one of Derry’s warmest and most popular characters. His love for the city and the whole North West was apparent not just in the content of his stage act but in every conversation he would have. Noel was also hugely generous giving so much of his time and talent to so many charities. “His relentless sense of humour was matched by a selfless sense of honour.
“I was speaking to Noel recently when we were all together in Guildhall Square to sing Danny Boy on Music City day. He was brimming with merry mischief and Derry pride as ever. It was great to see him and his wife and family being such a lively part of that great occasion.”
“Noel McBride was a friend to all and will be deeply missed not just in Derry but across the region where he performed and served with such mirth and worth. I offer my sincere condolences to Noel’s family and friends at this very sad time.”
Sinn Fein Councillor Lynn Fleming also paid tribute to the well known Waterside man.
She said: “The community in the Waterside and across Derry is deeply saddened on hearing the news that Noel has passed away. He was a larger than life character and worked tirelessly for local charities over the years. My thoughts and prayers and those of the people of the area are with his wife Eleanor and the McBride family circle and friends at what must be a very difficult time.”
Noel will be laid to rest in St Mary’s Cemetery Ardmore after Requiem Mass at St Columb’s Church, Chapel Road at 11:30am tomorrow. He is survived by his wife Eleanor, children Deborah, Brian, Brenda, Tony and Eamonn,and his grandchildren and greatgrandchildren.