SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has expressed his deep shock and sadness at the death of award-winning tour guide Martin McCrossan from Derry.
Mr Durkan said: “We all share in the devastating shock and loss of such a vibrant, happy personality who always had a broad smile, a big wave, a strong handshake and warm words for everyone he saw or met.
“He personified Derry hospitality with his ease of company, his constant humour and his effort of care.
“Martin McCrossan told and sold Derry’s story like nobody else.
“We all know the famous words ‘If stones could speak…’. Well, Derry’s Walls found an effusive and engaging spokesperson in Martin!
“Martin was a civic patriot who championed all things Derry. His passion for Derry made him evangelical in espousing its history, attributes, characters and community character.
“He was a great encourager of Derry talent, potential and achievement. He instigated the ‘People of the Year’ awards so that contributions, commitments and successes in all sectors and all parts of the city would be recognised and celebrated.
“While Martin was rightly proud of his own well-deserved awards as a tourism phenomenon he was even more enthusiastic about the inspiration he saw in the work, worth and ways of so many people in Derry.
“As local MP I would often ensure that visitors to the city got the Martin McCrossan Derry experience.
“The unforgettable impression he made on them has them still asking about him when they ask me about Derry.
“It is clear that Martin McCrossan epitomised that special ‘Derryness’ that he believed in and wanted us all to celebrate.
“We have lost Mr Derry.
“In sharing the loss of such a character I extend heartfelt condolences to his beloved wife, family and friends who have lost such a lovely, lively part of themselves.”