MP Durkan leads tributes to ‘Mr Derry’ Martin McCrossan

The late Martin McCrossan during a tour of Londonderry he gave to Rose of Tralee, Maria Walsh, from Philadelphia
The late Martin McCrossan during a tour of Londonderry he gave to Rose of Tralee, Maria Walsh, from Philadelphia

A well-known tour guide dubbed “Mr Derry” for his championing of the city has died aged 52.

Humorous and caring Martin McCrossan ran City Tours and was given a Local Tourism Hero award in 2013 in recognition of decades of work.

A book of condolence has been opened by Derry City Council at the Guildhall.

SDLP Foyle MP Mark 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.”

Mr McCrossan founded City Tours over 20 years ago.

The MP said he encouraged 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.

“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.”

As local MP he would often ensure visitors to the city received 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.”

Derry City Council mayor Brenda Stevenson said the death had caused widespread shock.

“Martin worked tirelessly to promote the local tourism industry and to showcase all that is good about our city.

“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.”

Ms Stevenson said: “Martin McCrossan was a fantastic person and a superb ambassador for Derry and the entire North West region.”

Martin McCrossan was born in Londonderry in May 1962. His father, Gerard, worked as a bookmaker and his mother, Helen, worked in one of the city’s shirt factories.

Martin had nine brothers and four sisters.

He is survived by his wife Sharon and two daughters Christina and Charlene.