Storey expresses sadness after hearing of Paisley death

MLA Mervyn Storey has expressed his personal sadness on hearing of the death of Lord Bannside.

“There will never be another of the stature of Dr Paisley either in church or state. To me he will always be the Doc or the Big Man, that larger than life figure whose presence filled the room,” he said.

“It was a privilege for me to know him not only as my MP and Moderator for 40 years but as a friend, and someone with whom I have shared many occasions and have many precious memories. I will always be proud to be called a Paisleyite.

“My first recollections of Dr Paisley was him coming to canvas in my home village of Armoy. My father was a founding member of the Protestant Unionist Party and the DUP which succeeded it. So having the Big Man come to our home was indeed very special. “Little did I think back then that one day I would have the great privilege of standing alongside Dr Paisley in the same election and on the same ballot paper and represent the same North Antrim constituency with him.

“He married Christine and I over 26 years ago and to have him share that special day in our lives was indeed and honour. When I was ordained to serve as an elder in Ballymoney Free Presbyterian Church he was there and preached at the service.

“When my late mother passed away in 2000, as has been the case for countless thousands of families in Northern Ireland, although out of the country he called our home and spoke and prayed with myself and my father. Indeed it was through the faithful preaching of Dr Paisley that my mother came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. What a reunion there has been in Glory.

“Dr Paisley faithfully represented the people of North Antrim in Westminster and at Stormont for over forty-years. The thumping majorities that he achieved in each election are testament to his devotion to public service and popularity with the people.

“Since this sad news broke I have met countless constituents from throughout this area who have told me personal accounts of how he helped them with a host of problems and issues. No case was ever too small or too difficult for Ian Paisley. His constituents mattered to him and his dedication to duty was unwavering.

“He served the people of North Antrim with fairness and diligence and without fear or favour, in every forum to which he was elected.

“He was made Freeman of the Borough of Ballymoney in October 2001. We were the first council to bestow this honour on him. The people of this town held Dr Paisley in high regard he was their Big Man.

“To Baroness Paisley, and in particular to my close friend and colleague Ian Jnr and the entire family I offer my sincere sympathy at this time of great sorrow. “.”