Derry & Strabane Council have agreed to provide funding a new commemorative plaque honouring late Derry tour guide and ‘Mr Derry’ Martin McCrossan.
Tributes were paid to ‘gentleman’ Mr McCrossan as the Council agreed to provide up to £2,000 for the new plinth which will be erected on to a plinth on a piece of existing, circular street furniture at the top entrance to Foyleside Shopping Centre.
The location was chosen, in conjunction with Mr McCrossan’s family, as this was the area where he usually started his popular tours of Derry.
Mr McCrossan passed away in February 2015 at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
The Derry man founded Derry City Tours in Derry over 20 years ago and was hailed by figures across the island of Ireland for his contribution towards business and tourism.
Throughout his years as a tour guide, he had given tours to tens of thousands of visitors to Derry, as well as a string of high profile figures such as Hollywood movie star Will Ferrell, comedian Tommy Tiernan and U.S. President Bill Clinton.
As a tribute to his services to the city’s tourism sector, a motion was passed at the Council’s Business & Culture Committee following his death for council officers to look into erecting a commemorative plaque in the city centre, liaising with Mr McCrossan’s family.
The Council’s Director of Business & Culture Stephen Gillespie told the committee at its October meeting in the Guildhall on Tuesday that the plinth would replicate in style that which was erected at the top of Fahan Street for the late Spider Kelly.
At the top of the plinth would be a bronze inscription, in an angled position.
Chair of the Business & Culture Committee, SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack described Mr McCrossan as a true gentleman.
She said: “He was a gentleman. He was representative of everything we want to be in our tourism capacity- he smiled, he was welcoming and he is such a sad loss to our tourism product.”
SDLP Councillor John Boyle proposed the Council proceed with the initiative he originally mooted, while Sinn Fein Councillor Elisha McCallion seconded this.
Colr. McCallion said: “Martin was internationally known as Mr Derry.”
She added that he had a very high status in the city and was well respected.
The design and erection of the plaque is now expected to take place, following the agreement of the funding.