Tributes have poured in to honour the memory of the “honourable and loyal” former Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MLA, David Hilditch, who passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. The East Antrim representative, who had dedicated himself to public service for over three decades, breathed his last on Sunday, November 5, just a few months after stepping back from his role in September due to ill health.
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP led the tributes, recognizing David’s unwavering commitment to serving the people of East Antrim. “David had a passion for people and believed in serving others, whether that was in the political realm or his beloved Carrick Rangers Football Club,” remarked Sir Jeffrey, highlighting David’s dedication despite his battle with cancer.
David Hilditch’s resilience and dedication were apparent in his ongoing service to his constituents, even during his illness and treatment, which took an incredible toll on his body. He continued to attend meetings and advocate for the people he represented. Having first been elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1998, David was subsequently re-elected in the 2011, 2016, 2017, and 2022 Assembly elections. He held the remarkable distinction of being one of only three MLAs who served continually from 1998 until 2023.
David’s retirement from the NI Assembly in September marked the end of a distinguished thirty-two-year career in public service. His journey in public service began in 1991 when he won a by-election in the Castle District of Carrickfergus Borough Council. During his tenure on the council, he served as Deputy Mayor from 1994 to 1996 and was subsequently elected as Mayor, serving a second term from 2004 to 2008.
While his colleagues remember a life of dedication and service to the people of Carrickfergus, East Antrim, and Northern Ireland, the thoughts and prayers of all are with those who were closest to David among his family and friends during this difficult time.
DUP Chairman Lord Morrow expressed his deep appreciation for David’s qualities, describing him as “dependable, reliable, honorable, trustworthy, and loyal.” David’s presence and contributions will be greatly missed, and his legacy of dedication to public service will continue to inspire future generations. As the East Antrim community mourns his passing, they will remember the extraordinary impact of a man who dedicated his life to serving others.