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Scottish obituary writer writes his own obituary

A Scottish regional journalist who became his paper’s obituary writer filed the notes for his own obituary from his hospital deathbed.

Chris Ferguson, of Dundee daily The Courier, died last Friday aged 60 following a major heart attack six weeks previously. His farewell note was the draft of his own obituary.

Ferguson had previously created a new obituaries team for the Courier and sister title the Press & Journal, and led the coverage of the late Queen Elizabeth’s death in 2022.

His 41-year career in journalism began in 1983 as a trainee at the Courier and Evening Telegraph’s Perth office, and his print debut was a report of his days as a council refuse collector.

After a brief spell editing the Deeside and Donside Pipers, he returned to Angus to launch The Arbroath Guide and Carnoustie Leader.

He rejoined the Courier as sub-editor at the Kingsway plant in 1995, before a switch back to reporting.

In 2021, when DC Thomson restructured its Dundee and Aberdeen newsrooms, creating mini-publishing teams working across both sites, Ferguson pitched the idea of a new, dedicated obituaries team.

He was joined on the team by Lindsay Bruce from Aberdeen and the pair “reinvented” obituaries for the Courier and Press & Journal. A year into his work managing the new team came the most high-profile death of the 21st century – the loss of Queen Elizabeth II.

His unrivalled knowledge, both of the monarchy and the late Queen’s time in the north of Scotland, enabled him to create a whopping 108-page supplement of her life which Courier editor David Clegg described as “a milestone in an already remarkable career.”

Clegg added: “In my opinion, his incredible coverage of the death of Her Majesty the Queen in September 2022 was the moment The Courier’s proud print legacy and exciting digital future meshed together most perfectly.

“It is a testament to his remarkable talent that Chris was equally at home in newsprint or cyberspace. I learned an incredible amount from him and will miss him dearly.”

Graham Huband, managing editor at DC Thomson, said: “A funny, erudite, kind and wise man who made every day at DC Towers that little bit brighter and easier for colleagues who admired and respected him in equal measure.”

Chris passed away peacefully on May 10 having been admitted to Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank on Good Friday. He leaves wife Carolyn, children Caitlin and Calum, and grandson Isaac.

Fittingly, his last piece was published in the form of a 1,500-hundred-word obit in his beloved courier.

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