UUP's Doug Beattie in moving tribute to grandson Cameron who died aged 15 months
'His smile lit the room and our lives and the news of his passing has devastated the whole family'
The UUP Upper Bann election candidate and war hero Doug Beattie has paid a moving tribute to his grandson who died at the age of just 15 months.
Cameron Tindale was found dead in his bed on Wednesday morning.
He was the youngest son of Mr Beattie's daughter, Leigh (28).
Mr Beattie, a councillor in Portadown, will be one of three UUP candidates contesting for Upper Bann.
The Northern Ireland soldier and war veteran has served in the Army for 34 years.
He has been awarded the Queen's Commendation for Bravery for his actions in Iraq, the Military Cross for his bravery in Afghanistan, and the Nato Meritorious Service Medal for his peacekeeping contributions in Bosnia.
He is now a reservist, but was recently told he must quit the military if he was to challenge for a seat in the Assembly.
In a statement released on Friday, the grieving grandfather said: "I have waited until after the polling stations closed to take this opportunity to thank all those who have sent their condolences.
"Our lovely grandson Cameron was a beautiful young lad and although only 15 months old he had a huge personality.
"His smile lit the room and our lives and the news of his passing has devastated the whole family."
Mr Beattie continued: "I have received messages of support from all quarters - friends, family, colleagues, political opponents. I can but thank you all for taking the time to think of us at this terrible time.
"I have passed on all your messages to my daughter Leigh and her husband Mark who continue to struggle with their loss.
"Although the funeral will be a private family service with some close friends - if you feel you would like to send a floral tribute then please send directly to Ian Milne Funeral Services at Seagoe Cemetery.
"Anyone wanting to make a donation please make it out to The Children's Heartbeat Trust, in name of Cameron Tindale, directly to the charity of Ian Milne.
"I hope you can all understand my decision to remain with my family through out the process."