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The Royal Black Institution has expressed its regret and sadness following the tragic death of esteemed local journalist, Austin Hunter.

Mr Hunter had worked as a public relations consultant with the Loyal Order for eight years, prior to his passing.

Sovereign Grand Master Millar Farr said: “Austin had an illustrious career in local journalism and public relations, and we as an Institution were privileged to avail of his expertise and first-hand experience in this field.

“His advice and guidance on many matters was invaluable. Austin was admired and respected greatly by senior officers and members alike, and such was his endearing personality, this developed into a strong and close association, and indeed friendship. His knowledge and companionship will be greatly missed.

“The Institution shares in the grief and loss of his wife, Jean, and family at this time, and offer to them our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy.”