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Sunday, July 3, 2022

Tributes paid to Christopher Stalford after the popular MLA’s sudden death
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Tributes have been paid to MLA Christopher Stalford from across politics and media after the popular politician sudden death at the weekend.

Following the announcement of Mr Stalford‘s death on Sunday morning, the outpouring of grief and sympathy to his wife Laura and their four children began across social media.

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DUP leader and party colleague Sir Jeffery Donaldson MP, paid tribute to Mr Stalford writing: “I am deeply saddened to learn of Christopher’s sudden death. He was not just an elected representative or a colleague, he was a friend.

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“On behalf of the Party, I express my sympathies to Laura and the wider Stalford family on the loss of a husband, father, son and brother.

“I talked at length with Christopher on Friday night. He was passionate about Northern Ireland and wanted the best for his constituents. I was never to know how precious that conversation was to be.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnston also spoke of his sadness after learning of the MLA’s death, saying: Christopher Stalford was, “a passionate and dedicated servant of the people of South Belfast,” and that his “thoughts are with the Stalford family at this very difficult time.”

Tributes also poured in from other party leaders and representatives including former Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill who wrote: “Desperately sad news of the sudden passing of DUP Assembly member Christopher Stalford.

TUV leader Jim Alister posted: “Words are not adequate to express the shock and deep sadness I feel at the death of Christopher Stalford. To his wife Laura and four young children I express sincere Christian sympathy. l retained friendship and respect for him and his ability ever since he worked for me as an MEP.”

Noemi Long, leader of the Aliance party wrote: “I did not think when I sat and chatted and laughed with Christopher on Tuesday afternoon about his children and elections, that I would be writing this tribute today. My heart is sore for his wee family, who he absolutely adored. May God comfort them at this awful time.

SDLP’s Column Eastword postponed the party’s spring conference as a mark of respect to Mr Stalford. “I’ve known Christopher Stalford for more than 20 years. He was a decent and dedicated public servant. This is just devastating news for all who knew him. God bless Laura and the 4 children.

Concluding, “As a mark of respect we will be postponing our Spring Conference due to take place today (Sunday 29th).”

Assembly speaker Alex Maskey paid his own tribute, writing: “Really sorry to hear the very sad news of Christopher Stalford’s passing. Deepest sympathy to Laura their children and all the wider family circle and his DUP friends and colleagues.

Members of the press were also quick to offer their sympathies over Christopher’s death. Former UTV political editor Ken Reid tweeted, “Saddened and shocked to hear Christopher Stalford had died. Strong in his politics but with a disarming sense of humour. My condolences to his wife, children and family circle.”

Journalist and political commentator Alex Kane wrote: “The last time I met Christopher was on the Cregagh Road 3 weeks ago. We spent 15 minutes talking about our children (he was waiting for transfer results for his eldest), school runs, the joys of being a dad and Sherlock Holmes (both fans of Brett). Not one word about politics.”

At 12pm the Assembly will sit to allow tributes and condolences to be paid to Christopher Stalford MLA. At the end of the tributes there will be a minute’s silence following which the Assembly sitting will adjourn for the day.

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