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Tributes to little Shankill star Dempsey Ballantyne who loses cancer battle

By Claire Williamson

Tributes have been paid to a little girl from Belfast who brought "joy to everyone around her" after she passed away following a battle with cancer.

Dempsey Ballantyne was a primary five pupil at Black Mountain Primary School.

The eight-year-old was also a member of the Shankill Star Flute Band.

A message was posted from the little girl's devastated family by the west Belfast DUP on Friday.

It said: "It is with deepest sadness we wish to inform everybody that Dempsey earned her wings this morning, peacefully and with her Mummy and Daddy at her side. She will forever hold a place in so many hearts none less so than my own, sleep tight Princess."

The little girl's primary school also paid tribute.

In a statement it said: "The staff and pupils of Black Mountain Primary School deeply regret the passing of one of our pupils, Dempsey Ballantyne.

"This is a tragic loss to Dempsey’s family and our school community. Dempsey was a wonderful little girl who brought joy to everyone around her. She was a credit to her family and will always be in our thoughts."

The Shankill Star Flute Band paid tribute to their "little star" as they said the youngster had gained her Angel Wings.

"With the deepest sadness we inform you all of the passing of our little star Dempsey who this morning gained her Angel wings. The band are totally devastated and would like to pass on our sincerest condolences to her parents Lynn, Robert and family circle. Our thoughts are also with her close friends at this difficult time.

"Whom ever had the pleasure of meeting Dempsey will no how much of a fighter she was and how she touched peoples lives. An honour to have her as a member of our band.

"Thank you for the memories Dempsey."

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