Page last updated at 14:29 GMT, Wednesday, 21 October 2009 15:29 UK

Councillor dies following illness

Liz Johnston
Mrs Johnston served on Coleraine council for 16 years

The Ulster Unionist Party councillor Liz Johnston has died.

The former mayor of Coleraine passed away on Wednesday morning at her home in the town following a long illness.

Her council colleague, David McClarty, described her as an extraordinary woman.

"It was with great sadness that I learned of Liz's death and I would like to extend my sympathies to her husband Bertie, to her two sons and the wider family circle.

"Liz has served on the council for 16 years and during that time she has excelled for the people of Coleraine in her role as both councillor and mayor.

"Liz was a larger than life figure - whenever she walked into a room the whole place lit up - people took notice and they listened," he said.

"She had a word for everyone no mater what their status, be it colleague or opponent, and when she addressed a crowd everyone in that room would have felt like she was talking directly to them.

"She will be missed by me personally as a colleague, but most importantly as a friend," Councillor McClarty added.

The leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Sir Reg Empey, also passed his condolences to the family.

"Liz has been an active member of the Ulster Unionist Party for many years and she will be sorely missed by all of her colleagues.

"Liz was an extraordinary woman and she promoted all the positivity of unionism no matter where she went or who she spoke to.

"Her personality and her sincerity were deeply respected by everyone she came into contact with - her death today is a huge loss to the Ulster Unionist Party and to all who knew her."

Wednesday evening's meeting of the District Policing Partnership at Coleraine Town Hall has been postponed as a mark of respect.

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