Tributes for ferryman found dead on the street

Chris Marr
Chris Marr
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TRIBUTES have been paid to the former operator of the famous Bass Rock ferry in North Berwick who was found dead in unexplained circumstances at the weekend.

Chris Marr was discovered on the Westgate section of the town’s High Street at around 7.45am yesterday morning.

The 66-year-old had sustained serious head injuries and died shortly arriving at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Police are currently attempting to establish how he came to suffer the injuries, although his death is not believed to be suspicious.

Mr Marr, a father of three daughters, was well known in the East Lothian town as his family had operated tours on the Sula ferry boat for several decades. He served as the boat’s skipper until selling the vessel and retiring last year.

Police cordoned off much of the High Street early yesterday morning after he was discovered outside the Bank of Scotland on Bank Street. A black Peugeot 406 SW estate, believed to belong to Mr Marr, was parked next to where he was found.

Robert Walker, a plumber who lives close to the bank where the body was found, said police had only arrived at the scene around 7.45am, suggesting the death happened in the morning rather than overnight. He added: “From what we’ve heard the man had a serious head injury but you don’t get any trouble in North Berwick, so it’s hard to imagine its anything suspicious.”

A close friend of Mr Marr’s, who was visiting the marina yesterday, said it is believed he suffered a heart attack, either while within his car, or after stepping out on to Bank Street yesterday morning and struck the pavement as he fell.

He said: “I haven’t spoken to his family yet but a few of his friends have said it was a heart attack. It was certainly nothing untoward, despite all the police closing off the road and being down here all day. Chris was in his mid-sixties, and he’d always been quite a big drinker so I guess that could be it.

“He’ll be missed. He was very well liked, well respected. His family operated the boats for decades and he’d been a fisherman as well. He spent his time in the Auld Hoose with the old harbourmaster and the guys who retired from fishing and he was a good man.”

Another friend of the family, who was visiting the town yesterday from Edinburgh, said: “Chris was very well known, as was his late father Fred, who set up the Bass Rock tours many years ago. They were very well known and well liked.

“His wife, who he divorced several years ago, owned a B&B here as well which also meant everyone knew who they were.”

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said: “Police can now identify the man who died after being found with serious head injuries in North Berwick on Sunday, December 9. “He is 66-year-old Christopher Marr, from North Berwick.

“Mr Marr was found in the town’s North Bank Street around 7.45am, and was taken by ambulance to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he passed away. Police are currently treating his death as unexplained, and inquiries are ongoing in order to establish how he came to suffer his injuries.”