THE funeral of Dromara mountaineer Noel Hanna will take place this weekend. A Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance for the local man, who passed away after scaling Nepal’s Mount Annapurna last Tuesday (18 April), will be held at Belfast’s Roselawn Crematorium on Saturday. The service for family and close friends will be held at 2pm, and this will be followed by a celebration gathering at Stormont Hotel (3.30pm), at which everyone is welcome to share their memories of the renowned adventurer who scaled Mount Everest 10 times and became the first person from the island of Ireland to conquer K2. Mr Hanna’s wife Lynne posted last Wednesday that she had “arrived in Kathmandu to bring Noel home”. “He passed away at Camp 4 on Annapurna after a successful summit,” she wrote. “He returned to the tent, took some hot soup and fell asleep, never to awaken again. “No drama, no big story, it was his time to go, and he died in the Himalayas. “What better place for my Mountain Man – sleep well, Noel.” Tributes to the climber continue to be posted online. The Mourne Mountain Rescue Team said it was with “great shock and sadness that we learnt of the untimely passing of local mountaineer Noel Hanna”. “Noel was without doubt Ireland’s most accomplished mountaineer, a tremendous ambassador for mountaineering, and a truly inspirational figure, whose influence reached many corners of the globe, while also keeping his roots well and truly embedded back here in the Mournes,” a post read. “Noel was an absolute gentleman, totally unassuming and a friend to many of our team.” Irish adventure publication Outsider Magazine described Mr Hanna as “an accomplished mountaineer”. “More than that, Noel was an inspiration to many and a ray of positive energy and humour wherever he went,” it said. “Noel paved the way for many Irish mountaineers, and we are forever grateful – thank you, Noel.” Kerry Climbing, an activity provider for Carrauntoohil and the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, said that the Dromara man had been a “climbing legend” and “an absolute gent in every sense”. “Our deepest sympathies go out to Noel’s family and friends,” they wrote. “It’s a huge loss to the world of mountaineering.” Singaporean adventurer and author Khoo Swee Chiow posted that Mr Hanna had “left us too soon”. “I always remember, when I was totally exhausted on Kanchenjunga, you gave me gummy bears and Coke to perk me up,” he stated. “And you stayed with me until I was ok. “I am so sorry I wasn’t there for you when you needed help this time. “You have touched each of us and lit up the adventure spirit in us. “Your generosity, cheerfulness and humour will always stay with us. “I am glad you are in a much better place. “Now you can fly over beautiful mountains – no need to climb anymore.” Dromore High School paid tribute to a past pupil who had gone on to scale the world’s highest peaks. “Whilst a student at the school, he had a reputation for being a treat to teach, and was known for his smile and sense of humour,” the school posted. “Noel has also been described as ‘humble’ and ‘a legend’, and we extend our very genuine condolences to the entire Hanna family circle, believing with others that part of his legacy will be found in the inspiration he has given to others.” Dromara Village FC extended their deepest sympathies to Mr Hanna’s family. “Noel played for the club back in the 90s and was a tenacious footballer, and he certainly carried those skills into his mountaineering career, in which he became a local legend and very wellrespected all over the world,” the club wrote.
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