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Family and friends pay tribute to gay man found dead at Manchester’s Britannia Hotel

Family and friends pay tribute to gay man found dead at Manchester’s Britannia Hotel

Thomas Noakes at this year's Manchester Pride.

Thomas Noakes, 29, died at the Britannia Hotel in Manchester in the early hours of 26 September.

While police is still investigating on the circumstances that led him to his premature death, Thomas’s sisters, parents and friends are organizing a memorial to give him the send-off he deserves.

They all have been overwhelmed by the support received on GoFundMe, set up by Tom’s friend Vicky Kenny. Several people are donating and celebrating Thomas’s life while waiting for the memorial.

The family, in fact, can’t set a date yet as a murder investigation continues.

The man who was with Noakes in the hotel room, Hayden Fitzpatrick, committed suicide. His body was found on Silver Street earlier that morning.

The hotel, just a stone’s throw away from Canal Street, Manchester’s LGBTI village, was a neighborhood Thomas knew quite well.

He came out as gay to his family and friends a few years back and had always attended Manchester Pride events ever since.

Thomas came out to his friends and family

Photo: supplied

‘As a family collective I don’t think there was much surprise when Tom came out as gay,’ Thomas’s mother Angela told GSN.

‘Tom and his friend Kristy came to the family home to break the news. Everyone as a whole was supporting and accepted Tom for who he was. As long as he was happy, he didn’t matter what path in life he chose.’

Thomas grew up with Angela and his father Walter, and three sisters: Danielle, Sophie and Alice.

‘Our mum rang us to tell us that tom was gay. I don’t think any of us were bothered so as long as he was happy, that was fine by us. He was extremely nervous telling his mum, but his little sister said that she always knew,’ also said Tom’s sisters.

Tom broke out the news to his friends in the same nervous way. Perhaps with a few shots for courage.

‘He phoned me up asking where I was. He came around to mine with a bottle of wine in the garden and drank the full bottle within half an hour,’ his childhood friend Aaron Kenny added.

‘I said to him, “Bloody hell! You got something to get off your chest, mate!” That’s when he told me he was gay. It went silent for a bit. He phoned his mum to tell her he had told me. I spoke to his mum and she said it was true and what I thought about it. I said as long as he is happy that’s all that matters to me.’

He was ‘loving, caring and with a diva side’

Photo: supplied

His best friend Kim Burns was among the first to know about Tom’s sexuality.

‘He was a great “Uncle Tom” to Molly and Harvey,’ she said.

She described him as ‘a witty character with great sense of humour, loving, caring and with a diva side’.

When he came out to her, Kim didn’t react in the way Tom hoped at first.

‘I always knew Tom was gay but when he first told me on a night out at the Gay Village. I couldn’t believe it and I did storm off home. Maybe it was because our friendship was becoming so tight that I was seeing something that wasn’t there,’ she said.

‘The next day without being intoxicated with alcohol I realised Tom being happy is all that matters and we both had a good laugh about it.’

The two shared many funny moments, with Tom always being around her house to host BBQs and ‘wind up the kids’.

‘My latest funniest memory with Tom was summer this year. He came to visit me in Spain at my mum and dad’s villa,’ said Kim.

‘He was well looked after with his own room and privacy at the other end of the villa. This particular night, me and Tom convinced my parents to have the kids while we went out with friends for a meal.’

‘A few quiet drinks obviously turned into an amazing night and us rolling in at 3am in the morning.’

But something didn’t go quite as planned.

‘The following afternoon we were all sat around the terrace table and my mum said, “Tom, do you remember getting in bed with me and Chris last night?’ Tom swung his head round and looked at me and we burst out laughing.

‘We were both still assuming this was a joke until my dad said my mom woke him up tapping him saying, “Chris, Tom is in our bed”. Dad then said he told Tom to go and get back in his own bed. Tom just causally strolled back into his own bed. He was mortified!’

Manchester Pride

Photo: supplied

This year’s Manchester Pride was a special one for Tom.

‘Tom attended Pride every year, but this year he was part of organizing his company’s float,’ said his mother Angela.

‘He was part of the parade along with work colleagues,’ also said Kim.

Tom worked at an insurance firm. That’s where he allegedly met Fitzpatrick.

While the truth on the tragic night is yet to be discovered, Tom’s family would only want to have him back.

‘We would want him to know how loved he was, and how many lives and hearts he had touched in such a small time, how proud we are of him and most of all how much we miss him,’ Angela also said.

‘There isn’t a single second of the day where we aren’t thinking of him, where he isn’t missed and where we [don’t] just want to hug him one last time.’

Tom’s sister Danielle also told GSN that she, her family and friends got matching tattoos in her brother’s honor.

‘Tom had stars behind his ear, abdomen and I think his wrist as well. We all had star tattoos done in various places just in memory of him.’

If you wish to donate to help planning Tom’s funeral, please visit GoFundMe.

All photos supplied.

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