A war hero was elected to the Assembly as he buried his 15-month grandson.
Ulster Unionist Doug Beattie, a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, won a seat in the Upper Bann constituency days after his family was shattered by the sudden death of Cameron Tindale.
The youngster died in his sleep on Tuesday night.
Political rival Dolores Kelly said the tragedy put her loss at the polls into perspective yesterday. The SDLP woman said: “Doug Beattie buried his grandson. I am going home to my grandchildren.”
Mr Beattie has been awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery for his actions in Iraq, the Military Cross for bravery in Afghanistan, and the Nato Meritorious Service Medal for his peacekeeping contributions in Bosnia.
On Friday he 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.”
The final votes were tallied up yesterday afternoon with DUP leader Arlene Foster hailing her party’s “tremendous” performance in the election after an unexpected repeat of its best ever Stormont haul.
This article first appeared in Belfast Live