New Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie’s mind will have been far removed from politics this afternoon as his 15-month-old grandson was laid to rest.
In a heart-breaking irony, Mr Beattie was elected around 4.30pm this afternoon – around the time that his family were gathered to grieve a loss which brought messages of sympathy from political friends and foes alike.
Little Cameron Tindale died in his sleep on Tuesday night.
The death which has totally shattered the Portadown councillor and his grieving extended family.
The family were to gather at a Portadown funeral parlour for a private service, and 12 miles away at the count in Banbridge, the grieving grandfather took a second UUP seat, with Jo-Anne Dobson already elected.
In a statement released on Friday, the former Royal Irish Regiment officer said: “I have waited until after the polling stations closed to take this opportunity to thank all those who have sent their condolences.
“Our lovely grandson Cameron was a beautiful young lad and although only 15 months old he had a huge personality.
“His smile lit the room and our lives and the news of his passing has devastated the whole family.”
“I have received messages of support from all quarters - friends, family, colleagues, political opponents. I can but thank you all for taking the time to think of us at this terrible time.
“I have passed on all your messages to my daughter Leigh and her husband Mark who continue to struggle with their loss.
“Anyone wanting to make a donation please make it out to The Children’s Heartbeat Trust, in name of Cameron Tindale, directly to the charity of Ian Milne Funeral Directors of Portadown.”