Declan Donnelly has been left devastated by the death of his father. The TV star's dad Alphonsus Donnelly died in hospital last Friday at the age of 78. Tributes have been paid to the father-of-seven - known affectionately as Foncey to his family and friends. Staff at the Tyneside Irish Centre in Newcastle, where Mr Donnelly worked for many years as a steward, said he would be greatly missed. A death notice has gone up at the centre, on the Gallowgate in the shadow of St James's Park. Tony Corcoran, centre secretary and organiser of the Irish Festival, said he remembered Dec - who hosts shows such as I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! with Ant McPartlin - singing Irish songs at his father's knee. He told The Evening Chronicle in Newcastle: "It is so sad to see him go. I know he suffered towards the end. "Looking back when his boys were singing little Irish songs, who'd have thought they'd become such stars like Declan?" Mr Donnelly moved with his wife Anne to Newcastle from Northern Ireland in the 1950s. They set up home in the working-class Cruddas Park area of the city, where they raised their four sons, Martin, Eamonn, Dermott and Declan, and three daughters, Patricia, Moyra and Camalia. A Requiem Mass will be held at St Michael's RC Church in Westmorland Road, Newcastle, on August 27 followed by interment at the city's West Road Cemetery.
Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.
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