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Donaldson: DUP left devastated by death of MLA Christopher Stalford

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he Democratic Unionist Party has been left “devastated” by the sudden death of Christopher Stalford, party leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said.

The DUP MLA, who died suddenly at the age of 39, was described as someone who was “very articulate” and had a great sense of humour.

The south Belfast representative and father-of-four died suddenly over the weekend.

Political representatives from across Northern Ireland have been paying tribute to the well-liked MLA.

DUP MLA Christopher Stalford has died aged 39 (PA) / PA Archive

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, Taoiseach Micheal Martin and Sinn Fein vice president, Michelle O’Neill, were among those who spoke of their shock at his death.

“We are absolutely devastated to have received the news this morning that our dear friend and much loved colleague, Christopher Stalford, had passed away,” Sir Jeffrey told PA news agency.

“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Laura, with his four children, and with the wider family.

“Christopher was first and foremost a loving husband, a father and a son and anytime you talked to Christopher he was always wanting to talk about his family.

“I had a conversation with him on Friday and we were talking about political matters and the forthcoming elections. But, of course, Christopher talked about school, about children moving to the big school.

He just lived for his family, but he also lived for his politics and Christopher loved representing his constituency of South Belfast, he wanted to work for everyone

“He just lived for his family, but he also lived for his politics and Christopher loved representing his constituency of South Belfast, he wanted to work for everyone.”

Sir Jeffrey said the party is also also grateful for the many messages from other political parties.

“Christopher had the capacity to reach out across the political divide and he was someone who wasn’t afraid to do the heavy lifting and to push the boundaries and to try and make Northern Ireland a better place for all of us,” he added.

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