Sunday Mirror

Ant: The world has lost a special man

Tribute to best pal Dec’s tragic brother

- BY SARAH ROBERTSON sarah.robertson@

ANT McPartlin yesterday paid tribute to TV sidekick Dec’s tragic brother who has died at 55.

He said Catholic priest Fr Dermott Donnelly “was 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.”

Dermott died in hospital after a short illness with a devastated Dec, 46, by his side after rushing to the North East from his London home.

In 2015, he officiated at Dec’s wedding to Ali Astall in Newcastle in a starstudde­d ceremony.

Dermott had recently been invited to Downing Street by Boris Johnson to pray for peace alongside other religious leaders following the invasion of Ukraine.

The respected priest had described the visit as

“a real privilege”, saying “the best weapon we had was prayer”. A stunned Dec, the youngest of seven brothers and sisters, who grew up in Newcastle, said he was “beyond devastated” by his loss. The Britain’s Got Talent star has said in the past he once thought of following his brother into the priesthood.

Dermott had only just celebrated the 30th anniversar­y of service to his parish in Stanley, Co Durham, where he was best known for his work with young people.

Shocked parishione­rs and those who knew and worked with him shared an outpouring of tributes. One said: “This is so hard to comprehend. I spoke to him last week and he was his usual happy self.”

Another wrote: “May you rest in peace.”

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 ?? ?? LOVED Fr Dermott officiated at Dec’s wedding to Ali, left
LOVED Fr Dermott officiated at Dec’s wedding to Ali, left

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