TRIBUTES have been paid to a Helensburgh businessman and community councillor following his death while on holiday overseas.

Roger Ferdinand drowned while swimming during a holiday at a villa in Greece.

Mr Ferdinand, 73, ran the dry-cleaning operation at Helensburgh Ironing Services, set up by his wife Winnie almost 25 years ago, in the town’s West Princes Street.

He had been a member of Helensburgh Community Council (HCC) for more than four years and was also a long-serving member, and former director, of the Helensburgh and Lomond Chamber of Commerce.

Prior to the couple’s arrival in Helensburgh, Mr Ferdinand, who was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, on September 1, 1949, worked in the entertainment industry and managed many famous musicians, including Kate Bush, Chris de Burgh, The Police, and Runrig, while working for A&M Records.

He had also worked as marketing manager for the funeral planning firm Golden Charter.

Mrs Ferdinand said: “Roger went for a swim on May 28, but he got into difficulty and couldn’t be reached in time.

“The police carried out their own enquiries to ensure there was no other possible cause of the accident – and I think that’s exactly what it was, an accident.

“Roger enjoyed being a part of the community. He strived to enhance and improve whatever was happening in Helensburgh, and I know he’ll be missed in the town.

“I’m amazed at the amount of well-wishers who have come to say a few words. The flowers and cards have been overwhelming.

“Even people who just walked by the shop and knew him just to exchange a smile and a cheery wave have come in to talk about how shocked they are.”

Helensburgh Community Council convener Norman Muir said: “Roger was elected to HCC in April 2018 and came with a wealth of experience of the retail scene and town centre activities.

“He had been a member of the Chamber of Commerce in Helensburgh and his election therefore established a bridge between HCC and local retail organisations which greatly added to our knowledge of local commercial interests and a better understanding of how the community council could assist retail development.

“Above all, his primary motivation was the well-being of a town he loved and cherished over many years.

“His drive and initiative in many activities that sought to put the town on the map set him apart and he was a well-known supporter of town centre interests.

“HCC will miss his great sense of humour and his intelligent analysis and consideration of all aspects of community life in the town.”

Vivien Dance, chair of the Helensburgh and Lomond Chamber of Commerce, said: “On behalf of the business community I would like to add heartfelt condolences to Winnie and to Roger’s family and friends.

“We were all devastated to hear the tragic news that one of Helensburgh’s prominent community and business champions was lost to the town. A truly sad and sorrowful time for everyone.

“Roger was a keen and active member of the Chamber of Commerce, including serving on the board for many years, and his desire to support the local business community and secure economic development for the town knew no bounds.

“He was committed to ensuring Helensburgh’s progression and development, and a willing participant in many local projects.

“His interest and passion for the town shone through, especially at festival times when he was always in his element entering in to the spirit of the day and enjoying contributing to everyone’s enjoyment.

“Days in Helensburgh are just not the same without him stopping to chat and exchange ideas for the next project.

“He is sorely missed. The business community has lost one of its driving forces and coming to terms with losing such an ebullient, well informed and highly motivated business personality from the town is proving to be very difficult – as I am sure it is for all who knew him.”

The British and Greek authorities are liaising on the return of Mr Ferdinand’s body to the UK, and as a result his funeral has yet to be arranged.