The Mayor of Derry, Councillor Brenda Stevenson has been amongst the first to sign a book of condolence in memory of local businessman Martin McCrossan who passed away today after a brief illness.
The Book of Condolence is opened to the public to sign at the Guildhall and will remain open all weekend and all next week as well.
The passing of Mr McCrossan has caused widespread shock and sadness across the city and farther afield.
Mayor Stevenson said: ““Martin McCrossan was a fantastic person and a superb ambassador for Derry and the entire North West region. His sudden death is a total shock to all of us who knew and loved him. “A well known businessman and tour guide, he was a real character who left a lasting positive impression on everyone who met him.” Mr McCrossan, she said, worked tirelessly to promote the local tourism industry and to showcase all that is good about Derry.
“An extremely proud Derry man, he will be greatly missed and my sincere condolences go out to his wife Sharon and his extended family at this extremely sad time,” she added.
“I have been speaking with representatives from the business community who felt it was imperative that Martin’s passing would be acknowledged so we felt that by opening a Book of Condolence in the Guildhall it would allow the public to come along to show their support of the McCrossan family at this difficult time.”
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness was amongst the first to express sympathy when news camr through that Mr McCrossan had passed away at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
Mr McGuinness said: “It was with great sadness that I learned of the death of Martin McCrossan.
“Martin was the driving force behind the tour industry in Derry. Through his innovative, informative tours which made a lasting impression on all who took part in them Martin promoted Derry throughout the world.
“A familar face to anyone who frequented the city centre Martin always had a smile and a positive word for those he met.
“Of course his loss will be felt greatest by his wife Sharon, his immediate family and work colleagues in the tourism industry. I extend my sincerest condolences and those of my party to them at this very sad time.”
The MP for Foyle, Mark Durkan said “we have lost Mr Derry.”
“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.
“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.”