UUP veteran out of running to be MLA

Alderman Samuel Gardiner
Alderman Samuel Gardiner

Ulster Unionist Party stalwart Sam Gardiner has missed out on selection to represent the party in Upper Bann at the next set of Assembly elections.

At a selection meeting on Wednesday night, UUP delegates selected councillors Colin McCusker and Doug Beattie, along with serving MLA Jo-Anne Dobson and relative newcomer Kyle Savage, to go forward to the next stage of the process.

The party leadership will now decide which of the four will stand at the new elections – with Jo-Anne Dobson and Doug Beattie hotly tipped and Colin McCusker favourite over Kyle Savage (son of the late George Savage) for the third nomination.

Mr Gardiner, the Assembly’s Father of the House (oldest serving member), has been a long standing presence on the political scene.

A former High Sheriff for County Armagh Mr Gardiner holds the MBE and is a Justice of the Peace.

As a member of the defunct Lurgan Borough Council, he was elected its youngest Mayor.

Following the restructuring of local Councils he became a member of Craigavon Borough Council and served as Mayor in 1982/3, 1988/9 and 2000/1.