'FORCE FOR GOOD' Cross-party MPs pay tribute following death of James Winston, a true ambassador for peace

'FORCE FOR GOOD' Cross-party MPs pay tribute following death of James Winston, a true ambassador for peace

TRIBUTES have flooded social media today after the death was announced of James Winston – who dedicated his career to promoting peace between Britain and Ireland.

For 25 years Mr Winston was the Director of CHAMP, a non-profit organisation that exists to strengthen the peace process in Northern Ireland, and the diversity between both islands.

To say he was hands-on in his role would be an understatement.

In that time Mr Winston spearheaded and drove the organisation, which hosted regular events designed to improve dialogue between the business community, public sector, charitable and voluntary bodies, government and elected representatives across Britain and Ireland.

As such he was a familiar face in parliament and well known to politicians and peers across both islands.

CHAMP events included an annual St Patrick’s Day reception held in Westminster and fringe events held during the annual party conference season in cities across Britain.

However in recent years Mr Winston had suffered with illness.

Sadly, he died yesterday, it was revealed in a post from his Twitter account.

“James passed away last night after a long illness, peacefully and at home with loved ones,” the statement confirmed.

“He embraced every aspect of life and lived his to the full. He was a great man, and a dear friend to many. James will be sadly missed and fondly remembered.”

Hundreds of tributes have since been posted in Mr Winston’s memory.

Irish Ambassador to Britain, Adrian O’Neill led the sentiments, stating: “Very sad news. In the final days of his life, James remained active promoting dialogue and friendship across these islands.

“He leaves a proud legacy.”

The Labour Party Irish Society followed, tweeting: “James was a huge character and a wonderfully kind man.

“He dedicated years of his life to bringing people together across Britain & Ireland in a way that only he could.”

They added: “He will be greatly missed but will always be part of the @labourirish family.”

Numerous MPs have also paid tribute today, from SDLP Deputy Leader Nichola Mallon, who tweeted: “So sad to hear this. James will be sorely missed,”, to Tory MP Nigel Adams, who stated: “Very sad to hear this. A top bloke.”

Jess Phillips, the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, said: “Sending all my love to James family. He was one of the gems of Parliament, a force of fun and a force for good. Rest easy my friend.”

Fellow Laboour MP Neil Coyle, who represents Bermondsey and Old Southwark in London, added: “Very sad news: the Irish community in Britain has lost a wonderful champion; and I have lost a true friend with a real lust for life.”