A well known leader of Integrated Education in Fermanagh, Mr. Tom Noble has died.

The 68 year old former principal of Erne Integrated College passed away on Saturday. 

The school which he led before retiring paid a moving tribute to their former principal.

"It is with great sadness that we write to inform all in the school community of the death of founding Principal Tom Noble. Tom was a driving force behind the integrated education movement in Enniskillen and it is no exaggeration to say that without Tom's energy, vision and industry, Erne Integrated College simply would not exist," the school said.

"As a Principal Tom knew every single student personally, he took a specific interest in their lives and celebrated their successes in the exam hall, the sports field, the stage and indeed the workplace. Tom took great delight in following the life-paths of alumni and nothing gave him greater pleasure than bumping into former students and having a catch-up. He was always an advocate for the child and a champion for fair play. Gifted with incredible empathy, Tom put the needs of the student to the fore and gave every one the understanding and opportunities they deserved – for Tom the holistic well-being of every child was an inexhaustible journey.

"All who knew Tom knew that he was a man with a powerful intellect who was driven by a sense of equity and justice and who worked for betterment of the whole community. Not only was he a proponent of integrated education – he was one of its visionaries. To his staff, Tom was the soul of caring, compassion and support. He was an incredibly good listener, the dispenser of wise and well-considered advice and an optimist with an indefatigable sense of humour. Always conscious that colleagues should progress and develop in the professional sphere, Tom had a healthy concern for the personal growth of his staff and took a keen interest in the lives of their families and worked to nurture an intimate feeling of community within the school," a statement on the school's Facebook continued.

The school concluded: "Tom's passing has come as a terrible shock to us all, but we feel proud and privileged to have known a man who embodied all that is best in humanity and one who made better the lives of all those whom he touched. He was equally comfortable chatting with his fellow Fermanagh folks as he was speaking to a government minister. Tom will always have a very special place in the heart of our school as our legendary founding Principal and in the history of integrated education a movement which has done so much to heal divisions in our post-conflict society. We extend our most sincere sympathies to his wife Mary, children; Gareth, Gavin, Marie-Claire, Mark and Sarah-Louise and the wider Noble family circle. May he rest in peace."

Mr. Noble was also an active coach with Enniskillen Royal Boat Club having been involved with rowing at the Club for many years and the club was delighted when he returned to them after his retirement.

The Boat Club said: "Tom has been absolutely invaluable to the Club over the last couple of years and travelled with the kids to London a couple of weeks ago. He relished being back doing what he loved and we were very privileged to have him. We dedicated a boat to Tom in December and had a wonderful celebration with all his family at Christmas Puds.

"We extend our sympathies to his wife Mary, Children Gavin, Gareth, Mark, Sarah Louise and Marie Claire, his beloved grandchildren, his brother Cecil, sister Pam and his extended family."

Mr. Noble's wake will be held in Ballycassidy House Funeral Home, 101 Kiladeas Road , Enniskillen BT94 2ES on Thursday from 3.00pm until 8.00pm with Service of Celebration of Tom's life on Friday at 12 noon in Ballycassidy House Funeral Home followed by cremation in Lakelands Crematorium, Cavan.

House private. No flowers please, by request.

Mr. Noble is survived by his loving wife Mary, sons and daughters Gareth, Gavin, Marie-Claire, Mark and Sarah Louise, grandchildren Tom, Kristin, Izzy, Ellie, Philip, Maggie and Grace, brother and sister Cecil and Pam and is deeply regretted by daughters in law, sons in law, family circle and friends.