Northern Ireland

Funeral of Noel Hanna hears 'his most lasting legacy is that he helped so many to achieve their life’s goal'

The funeral of Noel Hanna took place on Saturday
The funeral of Noel Hanna took place on Saturday The funeral of Noel Hanna took place on Saturday

Mourners at the funeral of well-known Co Down mountaineer Noel Hanna have heard how "his most lasting legacy is that he helped so many to achieve their life’s goal".

Family and friends of the adventurer gathered for his funeral service on Saturday, where they were also told of how he "lived for the mountains".

Mr Hanna (56), regarded as one of Ireland’s most accomplished mountaineers, died earlier this month in Nepal.

He had scaled the 8,091m (26,545ft) Annapurna peak, but died overnight at a camp after making his descent. 

His wife, Lynne Hanna, said at the time that there was "no drama, no big story" adding that he had "died in the Himalayas - what better place".

"After a successful summit he returned to the tent, took some hot soup and fell asleep never to awaken again," she said.

The cause of death has not been confirmed.

His funeral service was held at Roselawn Crematorium on the outskirts of Belfast, where the boots he wore during his final expedition were placed beside his coffin.

Music entitled, the Climb, was played to mourners during the short service ahead of a celebration of his life afterwards at the Stormont Hotel.

Noel Hanna died earlier this month
Noel Hanna died earlier this month Noel Hanna died earlier this month

An experienced mountaineer, Mr Hanna had scaled Mount Everest 10 times and in 2018 became the first person from the island of Ireland to successfully summit and descend K2.

His wife told mourners at the service on Saturday of their life together and spoke of her husband's love of dogs and adventure.

The congregation also heard that Mr Hanna believed that “true wealth was not measured in things and possessions but in people and experiences”.

“His most lasting legacy is that he helped so many to achieve their life’s goal," the celebrant told mourners.

"Noel never lost sight of the fact that true greatness was not found in just personal achievement but in helping those around him to achieve, whether it was his service through the police, his charity work and his mentoring and nurturing of other climbers, and his loving commitment to his family.

“Helping others be their very best selves. He lived for the mountains. He was very well aware of the dangers he lived in.

"He would have chosen how his life ended.”