NORTH Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey has spoken of his sadness on the passing of Mr Sam McConaghie (94), a former DUP councillor in Ballymoney.
Mr Storey said: “It was with great personal sadness that I learned of the passing of my friend and colleague Sam McConaghie.
“I would not have been involved in public life without the help, assistance and friendship of Sam. I recall when Ballymoney Borough Council became part of the new Causeway Coast & Glen Council in 2015 I said ‘Sam McConaghie in particular was very influential in bringing me into representative politics and allowed me to be his replacement to contest his Ballymoney Town seat when he retired from Council in 2001. Sam enabled me to take my first tentative steps in public life and I want to thank him’.
“Sam was a DUP man from the very beginning and was involved with the Protestant Unionist Party the forerunner to the DUP.
“He was the driving force in the DUP in Ballymoney and North Antrim, indeed Dr Paisley’s first port of call when he would come to Ballymoney was Sam’s house.
“That was where we would meet and plan election campaigns and all the work that needed to be done. He of course served for many years on Ballymoney Borough Council and was Deputy Mayor. I had the honour of replacing him on the Council when he retired in 2001.
“Other passions in his long life were the Independent Orange Order, Dunaghy lodge and Band. Everyone knew that Sam was an Independent and he was very proud to be associated with all that went on in the Institution, serving in many offices of Private, District, County and Grand Lodge and also in many roles in Dunaghy Band.
“Sam was also very good with his hands, there are many homes across Northern Ireland who have a miniature lambeg drum made by him.
“To his wife Ellen, sons Tommy, James, Allen, David, his daughter Janice and the entire family circle I extend my sympathy and pray that they may know the Lord’s sustaining Grace at this time of great loss. And assure them that they are in our thoughts and prayers at this time.”