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Drew Nelson: What they said

Former NI Shadow Secretary of State Laurence Robertson: "Very sorry to hear of passing of Drew Nelson in Northern Ireland. I met him 20 years ago and stayed in touch. A good and decent man."

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt: "Drew represented what I would describe as a modern, progressive form of Orangeman. He was proud but not boastful of his heritage. He understood the importance of putting your case in a calm, logical, respectful manner. And he identified the need to design a formal programme that would ensure a generation of future leaders within the Orange Order."

TUV leader Jim Allister: "Drew was someone who loved his country and there will be people across Northern Ireland who will feel a sense of loss at this news as a result. I hope that his family and close friends will know the presence of the father of mercies and God of all comfort at this time of loss. May they derive strength from the knowledge that many will be remembering them in prayer at this time."

DUP Lagan Valley MLA Brenda Hale: "Drew was a true gentleman and he will be greatly missed by his mother, sister-in-law and nephews. His death will also be deeply felt across the Orange fraternity and throughout Northern Ireland. Drew fought a courageous battle against illness and my thoughts and prayers are with his family circle at this difficult time."

UUP Newry and Armagh MLA Danny Kennedy: "Drew was a significant figure within the Orange Order, serving as Grand Secretary for many years, leading change in the organisation, change that saw its image and reputation improve significantly across the world. I knew Drew primarily through my membership of the Orange Institution and his commitment to the Orange Order and his desire to improve life in Northern Ireland was obvious."

SDLP West Belfast MLA Alex Attwood: "Over the years since Drew and I were students of Queen's University, our paths sometimes crossed. We had our differences of opinion on a number of matters, but his style and mind were never closed. He was always plain speaking, thoughtful and loyal. I valued our occasional contact and express my deep sympathy to his family circle."

Alliance South Antrim MLA David Ford: "Drew played a key role in the Orange Order in recent years, particularly in seeking to move the organisation forward and recognising the new reality of Northern Ireland society. I always had positive engagements with him in his role, both from an Alliance perspective and while Justice Minister. My deepest condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues on his passing."

Belfast Telegraph