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Editor ‘hero-worshipped’ by Nicola Sturgeon dies aged 69

Iain FergusonA regional press editor who was “hero-worshipped” by his niece Nicola Sturgeon has died aged 69.

Tributes have been paid to Iain Ferguson, who edited newspapers including the Ayr Advertiser, Troon and Prestwick Times, Irvine Times and Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald during his career.

After leaving journalism he spent 20 years as the head of public relations at Ayr Racecourse but continued penning ‘The Home Straight’ horse racing columns for Ayrshire Weekly Press titles after he retired last year.

Former Scottish First Minister Ms Sturgeon has led the tributes to her uncle.

She said: “My wonderful Uncle Iain, known to many in the journalist world, has passed away. I hero-worshipped Iain when I was a wee girl and have looked up to him all my life.

“He and I shared a love of books and constantly texted each other recommendations. I will miss him so much.”

Prestwick-raised Iain, pictured, began his career in 1971 where he worked with Bernard Press at Prestwick Airport, according to an Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald obituary.

From there, he then joined the Ayrshire Weekly Press team, before leaving to join the Daily Record in 1989.

Iain was appointed deputy news editor of Glasgow’s Sunday Mail 10 years later and worked his way up to the post of assistant editor before returning to the Record.

He had two spells hosting and producing the sports show on West Sound, from 1987 to 1989 and then 2003 to 2005, before moving into PR.

Iain continued to contribute to the racecourse’s PR team on a part-time basis following his retirement in September last year.

He had fallen ill last month.

Ayr Racecourse’s current head of PR Jim Delahunt saidd: “I was honoured to take over from Iain at Ayr Racecourse 10 months ago and was delighted that he stayed on to contribute in a part-time capacity.

“We’re all shocked at his passing and all my thoughts are with the family at this time.”