Royston councillors and friends have joined MP Sir Oliver Heald in paying tribute following the death of former mayor Duncan Ferguson.

Cllr Ferguson served as Mayor of Royston for two terms from 1976 to 1978 and from 1985 to 1986.

His wife, Helen Ferguson, died in February at the age of 90.

Alan Cecil, who was Mayor of Royston from 1981 to 1982, described Cllr Ferguson as "probably the finest mayor Royston ever had".

He said: "I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Duncan, a friend for almost 50 years.

"Duncan became mayor in 1976 just as I joined the town council, so he and Helen very much took me under their wing with wonderful guidance and helpful advice.

Royston Crow: Mayor Duncan Ferguson and his wife Helen attended the Royston Police Ball during his first term as mayorMayor Duncan Ferguson and his wife Helen attended the Royston Police Ball during his first term as mayor (Image: Supplied)

"I recall working with Duncan on the Royston By-Pass campaign leafleting motorists as they passed through the town, and during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 when we sold commemorative mugs on Market Hill.

"Duncan was probably 'the finest mayor that Royston ever had' so much so that he had the rare honour of fulfilling the task initially for two years and for a second spell later.

"Since I left Royston 40 years ago, I stayed connected with Duncan and Helen, visiting them when I could.

"I had a lovely chat with Duncan last November when he told me how he had been caring for Helen at home until it became physically impossible for him to do so, after which he visited her every day in the care home.


"Duncan and Helen did so much for Royston, and both will be sadly missed."

North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald also paid tribute.

He said: "I was very sorry to hear that former councillor Duncan Ferguson has passed away soon after the loss of his wife, Helen. 

"Duncan was an excellent councillor for Royston and served as town mayor. He was popular locally and did a great deal for the town. 

"Until very recently I would often speak to him walking in Royston High Street. He was a friend for over 40 years. 

"He will be missed by his many friends and my thoughts are with his family."

The Conservators of Therfield Heath and Greens said they were "saddened" to hear of Cllr Ferguson's death.

A spokesperson said: "Duncan represented Royston as a Conservator from the 1970s until he retired in 1992.

"This included the moment in 1979 when the Conservators bought the Heath and created the Therfield Regulation Trust to hold the land in perpetuity.

"Duncan's commitment to the Heath continued after 1992 and he gave evidence against the de-registration of Sun Hill Common for proposed house building at the public inquiry in 2018.

"Alongside his many other achievements all local people should remember Duncan's role in protecting the heath and we can be grateful that he inspired so many others to give their time to protect and maintain the heath today."