TRIBUTES have been paid to Nat Storey, an influential and highly regarded member of the DUP, who has passed away.
Mr Storey, who was originally from Armoy, died on Monday.
He was a close friend of and an election worker for former North Antrim DUP MP, the late Ian Paisley.
Causeway Coast and Glens DUP councillor John McAuley expressed his sympathy.
He said: “As a founder member of the Protestant Unionist Party and an election worker for the late Ian Paisley, Nat was well known within political circles and in particular the DUP who made him an honorary member in recognition of his work and commitment to the party over the years.
“On a personal note, I have known Nat all my life through his friendship with my late father Alfie and always enjoyed reminiscing with him about their antics many years ago.
“Nat has battled with poor health for a considerable time now, which is testament of his strong character but he is now safe in the hands of Jesus which I know will bring great comfort to the family.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the entire family circle at this sad time in particular his sons Mervyn, Raymond along with Christine, Ann, Philip, Jonathan and Lydia.”
The Independent Loyal Orange Institution said: “It is with deep regret that we, the officers and members of the Independent Loyal Orange Institution learn of the passing of Bro Nat Storey, father of ILOI Deputy Imperial Grand Master Wor Bro Mervyn Storey MLA and Bro Raymond Storey. Also grandfather of Bro Jonathan Storey. We wish to express our heart felt sympathy to the family at this time.”
Tributes were also paid on social media where Mr Storey was described as “a true gentleman”.
North Antrim DUP Assemblyman Mervyn Storey once told of how his dad’s interest in politics shaped him.
He had said: “I owe my political interest to my dad, who was a founder member in our area of the Protestant Unionist Party, the forerunner of the DUP.
“He subsequently became a founder member of the Ballymoney Branch of the DUP, of which we are both members to this day.
“Dad worked at elections for Dr Paisley from 1970 until the last time he stood for North Antrim in 2005. I can recall when we lived in Armoy, Dr Paisley coming to our home and all the excitement that surrounded those visits.”
Nat Storey’s sister Ruth Neill, who lived in Stranocum, passed away on January 5.
Storey, 13th January 2020 (peacefully) at Causeway Hospital, Nathaniel (Nat), late of Shiels Court and formerly of Dunaghy, dearly beloved husband of the late Tillie, much loved father of Raymond and Mervyn, dear father-in-law of Ann and Christine, loving grandfather of Lydia and her husband Ryan, Philip and Jonathan and great-grandfather of Oscar.
Funeral Service in Hebron Free Presbyterian Church on Wednesday at 1pm followed by interment in Ballymoney Cemetery.
Friends welcome at his son Mervyn’s home, 215 Seacon Road, Ballymoney.
Family flowers only please. Donations in lieu, if desired to Ballymoney Independent Christian School c/o James McMullan and Son, 22 High Street, Ballymoney, BT53 6AQ.
Sadly missed by his sorrowing family circle.
“With Christ which is far better.” Phil.1 v 23