TV star Declan Donnelly has paid a heartfelt tribute to his brother Dermott during a poignant and emotional funeral ceremony on Friday (July 29).

Father Donnelly, who was a priest at St Joseph's Church in Stanley in County Durham and other churches across the North East, died earlier this month aged 55.

Since his sudden and tragic death, hundreds of tributes have flooded in for Dermott, who has been described as a "pioneer" in youth church work in the region. 

Read more: Father Donnelly funeral LIVE: Ant & Dec to pay tribute at Newcastle church

On Friday, hundreds packed out St Mary's Cathedral in Newcastle, to pay their final respects to their loved one, who served with the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

Among the tributes from clergy members and other members of his family, the latter stages of the funeral saw TV star and Dermott's brother, Dec, get a chance to give a speech in memory of his beloved family member. 

Addressing the funeral, Dec, who had also carried in the coffin of Dermott, thanked everyone for their messages of support since the "shock" news at the start of the month. 

Worcester News: Declan Donnelly at his brother Dermott's funeral at St Mary's Cathedral. Picture: YOUTUBEDeclan Donnelly at his brother Dermott's funeral at St Mary's Cathedral. Picture: YOUTUBE

Starting off with a joke, the ITV personality said: "We want to speak about Dermott as a family and say what he was REALLY like.

"We were brought up a stones throw from here- we shared a three-bedroom house - 4 boys in one room, three rooms in the other. 

"It wasn't unusual to see Dermott in his pants - switching off the lights."

He then noted the surprise of his family when they heard that Dermott wanted to be a priest, but also joked that "Dermott wanted to play mass instead of playing doctors or cowboys and Indians as a child".

Worcester News: Declan carries his brother's coffin. Picture: NORTH NEWSDeclan carries his brother's coffin. Picture: NORTH NEWS

Remembering his brother as often mischievous, he recalled that his brother hated playing football, which he was required to do at priest school, so much that he came up with a plot to break his own leg." 

While remembering him as his 'pesky' brother, Dec paid a large tribute to Dermott's determination - which included building a youth village in Consett, County Durham, in 2010.  

"Dermott had big dreams - of building a place where young people feel like they were belonged," he said. 

"He dreamed of how he could make the dream a reality - you name it - Dermott would monetise it. 

Worcester News: The inside of St Mary's for Dermott's funeral. Picture: YOUTUBEThe inside of St Mary's for Dermott's funeral. Picture: YOUTUBE

"He had a knack of sweeping you along with the vision and he was a visionary - to paint the picture and you'd go along with it and he'd hand you a shovel and say 'get on with it'. 

Before carrying on with his brother's achievements, Dec told the funeral about a particularly funny moment where Dermott tried to raise funds through a 'blowdry' project at the local hairdresser.

"He didn't quite describe it as a blowdry, though - tickets sold out like that though, he joked, to the hilarity of everyone gathered at the ceremony." 

At the end of his speech, a clearly shaken and emotional Dec described the world as a "worse" place without his brother. 

He added: "Unfortunately, today our world is a worse place because Dermott isn't with us. He still had so much more he wanted to do and so many lives he had to change 

"We can't believe he's gone and we still don't understand why he's gone - but we trust he was taken because god needed his talents elsewhere. 

"Rest in peace Derm".

The funeral ceremony ended soon after Dec's speech, with his TV co-star Ant McPartlin also attending, along with all of Dermott's family and friends.

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