Belfast Telegraph

New memorial to pay tribute to legendary tour guide 'Mr Derry'

By Donna Deeney

A memorial to the late Martin McCrossan - the man credited for kickstarting the tourism industry in Londonderry - is to be erected at the spot where he began his walking tours.

US President Bill Clinton, actor Will Ferrell and comedian Tommy Tiernan were among the thousands he guided around the city.

Derry and Strabane Council has agreed to place the commemorative plinth for the man known as 'Mr Derry' at the top of Bridge Street, just outside the Foyleside Shopping Centre.

Mr McCrossan passed away in February 2015. His walking tours of the city started at the height of the Troubles and grew to become an award-winning company.

The memorial plaque will read 'Martin McCrossan Tourism Hero 1962-2015' and will include a photograph etched into it with the written tribute: 'A true champion and ambassador for the City. The driving force behind the tourism industry who left a lasting positive impression on everyone who met him.'

SDLP councillor John Boyle, who made the proposal for the memorial, said he believed it was "truly appropriate" to remember the late tour guide and charity campaigner.

Mr McCrossan was best known for his tour company and the guides' distinctive yellow uniforms, a tradition which has been carried on by his family. He was also a passionate fundraiser for charity.

Mr Boyle added: "Martin McCrossan was exemplary in his commitment to Derry and he was a true visionary who recognised the very real tourism potential of our city, even as we were only just emerging from the darkest days of the Troubles.

"Coupled with his commitment to charitable causes, I cannot think of a more appropriate tribute.

"Martin had a ready smile and a warm welcome for everyone he met and his walking tours are the stuff of legend.

"It is particularly poignant that the commemorative plinth will be located at the precise location where Martin's tours began and from where, to this day, they still set off."

Planning committee chairman Dan Kelly said he was delighted the application was approved.

He added: "This memorial is a fitting tribute to a man who was responsible for his positive promotion of Derry and his tireless work to put Derry and the wider north west region on the map.

"We are delighted that the memorial has been approved and that there will be a permanent structure located in the heart of the city that will reflect his lasting legacy."

Belfast Telegraph

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