Tributes paid to Ulster Unionist stalwart Robert Coulter
Tributes were paid last night to the former Ulster Unionist MLA for North Antrim, the Rev Dr Robert Coulter, who has died at the age of 88.
Mr Coulter had a long record of public service during his time on Ballymena Borough Council - where he served as Mayor - and then when elected to the Assembly in 1998 until he retired in 2011.
UUP leader Robin Swann led the tributes to the former party stalwart who he described as "a mentor and a friend".
He said: "He was passionate about education and particularly for children with special educational needs. This was reflected in his role as a key advocate for the recently opened new build for Castle Tower School where he was Chair of the Board of Governors. Following in his footsteps in North Antrim, I was always aware of the high bar that had been set by him."
The suspended North Antrim MP Ian Paisley tweeted: "Robert was a lovely family man with a gentle spirit. He will be missed by his family and church. We often met at bike races." Mr Coulter is survived by his wife Elizabeth, son John and daughter Liz.