Jeffrey Donaldson – 2022 Statement on Death of Christopher Stalford

The statement made by Jeffrey Donaldson, the Leader of the DUP, on 20 February 2022.

I am deeply saddened to learn of Christopher’s sudden death. He was not just an elected representative or a colleague, he was a friend.

On behalf of the Party, I express my sympathies to Laura and the wider Stalford family on the loss of a husband, father, son and brother.

I talked at length with Christopher on Friday night. He was passionate about Northern Ireland and wanted the best for his constituents. I was never to know how precious that conversation was to be.

Most telling of all in that conversation was his pride in Laura and their children. He talked about his eldest child transferring to big school and the discussions that were ongoing in the home.

Christopher was born to be a public representative. From his teenage years he was a regular contributor to politics both in the print and broadcast media. He was elected as a Belfast City Councillor in 2005 to represent the Laganbank area and then from 2014 represented the Balmoral area. Christopher was elected the High Sheriff of Belfast in 2010 and Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast in 2013/14.

In 2016, Christopher was elected to represent Belfast South in the Northern Ireland Assembly and from January 2020 served as the Principal Deputy Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Christopher believed in stretching himself to build a genuinely shared future. He was confident in his unionism and his identity and was always prepared to provide leadership to keep Northern Ireland moving in the right direction.

The Stalford family will be in our prayers as they mourn Christopher’s passing.