One of life’s good guys

Roger Ferdinand

Tributes have been paid to a former senior executive of Golden Charter who sadly passed away while on holiday in Greece.

Roger Ferdinand, 73, who had been Marketing Manager of the organisation, lived in Helensburgh, where he had been a member of the local community council as well as a former director of the Helensburgh and Lomond Chamber of Commerce.

Friends and colleagues have recounted their association with the former music industry executive, remembering him with warmth and affection.

They include Ian Barnett, a former Managing Director of Golden Charter who has recently retired as a Trustee of the Golden Charter Trust. He commented: “We depended a lot on Roger – he was very visible as a marketing manager and a great organiser. “He was very able and, importantly in the role, was well liked by all the funeral directors. He really was one of life’s good guys.”

Jacqui McGilveray also worked with Roger at Golden Charter. She is still with the organisation and has fond memories of their time together.

She recalls that she first met him in 1996 and got to know him properly when she applied for a job in the marketing department two years later.

“Roger was very passionate about marketing and always wanted to do the best job, everything had to be perfect!” she says. “At first, I thought he was pretty scary – I was terrified of making a mistake. However, when I made an error, and it was a pretty big mistake – I sent the wrong display stand to a trade exhibition in Italy – he was incredibly understanding.

“From that day on I realised Roger was very funny, loud, caring, loved his mum, loved Winnie his partner and loved his cats.”

Jacqui worked with Roger for more than a decade in Golden Charter and has two stand out memories: “The first was travelling to a show to set up our stand and exhibit. Roger liked the band The Who, so on the drive down I was treated to a Roger and The Who concert for three hours – his finger drumming skills were second to none!” She met Roger again at the SAIF AGM at Dalmahoy, in March this year, just before his passing. “I had not seen him for some time, but he was just the same. He was loud – I heard him before I saw him – and just as funny. He will be sorely missed by many.”

Roger spent much of his time running Helensburgh Ironing Services, a dry-cleaning operation in the town’s West Princes Street, set up by Winnie 25 years ago.

He was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, and spent the early part of his life as a record company executive, working with world-famous acts including Chris de Burgh, Kate Bush and the Police.

Another person with fond memories of him is SAIFInsight columnist and the Executive Director of Grief Journey UK Bill Webster. Bill remembers that he first met Roger at an Independent’s Day and struck up a friendship right away, “as most people did with Roger”.

He also recalls one surreal incident: “He was apparently under the cosh for arranging, at some expense, to have a Sean Connery James Bond lookalike who helped make a presentation on behalf of Golden Charter. Roger and I chatted outside for a long time and had a good laugh about it. I still have a picture of me holding a gun to Mr Bond, courtesy of him.”

Bill added: “A year or so later I attended a funeral exhibition and somehow Roger wangled getting me there a day or two early, so I helped him set up the booth.

“I was impressed by how much, and with how much enthusiasm, Roger worked to make it a success.”

Another favourite moment was when both Bill and Roger played in a Help the Aged golf tournaments on behalf of Golden Charter, meeting personalities like Ronnie Corbett and Eric Sykes.

“Jess Conrad was a favourite of ours. We had great fun on those occasions and shared some wonderful and unforgettable evenings and golf days.

“Roger Ferdinand was a good friend and colleague to me, and I will miss him. He was irrepressible, loyal, reliable, hard-working and caring. Rest in peace, my friend.”

Roger’s funeral was arranged by James Auld Funerals and held Helensburgh Parish Church. SAIF Scotland Executive member Jim Auld said: “Roger was involved in marketing at Golden Charter from its early days, working closely with Gordon and Alan Kee and Andrew Harvey.

“He was the person behind the idea of funeral directors organising bowls tournaments and golf days in their local communities to promote Golden Charter. His working life had been in promotion and marketing, particularly in the music industry, and before he joined Golden Charter he was at Radio Clyde.”

Jim added: “On leaving Golden Charter, Roger continued to take an interest in the profession and kept in touch with many colleagues and friends he’d met over the years. The funeral service was well attended with a good representation of people he knew from the town.

“A good number of funeral directors also attended the funeral along with staff past and present from Golden Charter and a very personal eulogy was given by John Harris of T Cribb and Sons Funeral Directors, London.”

Roger passed away while on holiday and is survived by his partner Winnie and his brother Alan.

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