HE WAS the man who bought an oil rig - and then had to deal with it breaking loose from its moorings heading for the Tay Bridge.

His expertise on dismantling and processing scrap was sought all over the world, his love of cars was legendary and his devotion to his family came before everything else…

Cambuslang businessman and well-kent face Duncan Ferguson died aged 81 last month. Here, his daughter Sally Hall pays tribute to a much-loved local legend.

My dad handled the call from the Dundee harbourmaster the way he dealt with most things in life - calmly, practically and with an acceptance that some things ‘just happen.’

The oil rig he had decided to buy had broken loose and was on course to crash into the Tay Bridge - thankfully disaster was averted and the giant structure was brought to a halt before a good chunk of the A92 was taken out.

Born in County Avenue, Cambuslang, in 1939 to Duncan and May Ferguson, my dad was a younger brother to Elspeth and attended Eastfield Primary. The family moved to Burbank Road in Hamilton.

As a child he was always playing with Dinky cars after school, taking old bikes home from the dump, refurbishing them and selling them on.

When he was 12 he tried to park his dad’s Austin 16 in the garage but failed to stop and went right through the back of it. Crashing cars was to become a recurring theme…

Having a piano meant the Ferguson home was the one people gravitated to for soirees and sing-songs. Whilst not as accomplished on the ivories as his sister, my dad had a good ear for music and always enjoyed playing hymns and choruses and many an evening was spent round the piano.

At 15 he started with a consultant engineering firm in Glasgow but left midway through his five-year apprenticeship to work with Andrew McCracken Building Contractors at Larkhall.

Glasgow Times:

As well as a love of cars and music my dad had a new love - Andrew McCracken’s daughter Lorraine, whom he’d met at church.

After a coffee date he told friends he’d met “the woman I’m going to marry” and that’s just what he did on May 2 1964. Four children followed in the next 10 years - Julie, Lisa, Jamie and me.

The McCrackens were a family who loved their cars and who regularly competed in the Monte Carlo Rally.

My dad fitted right in and was a member of the Lanarkshire Car Club and, later, the Veterans of Scottish Motorsport. Despite numerous bumps (including one where he rolled a car several times but managed to complete the race after it landed back on its wheels) he was a competitive driver.

Glasgow Times:

He loved working for his father-in-law, someone similar to his own father in the way he conducted his business. These two men were great role models for my dad when, after overseeing the building of the Daer pipeline in Lanarkshire, he and brother-in-law Sandy decided to start their own business.

Wanting to prove themselves, they set up scrap business Fermac in 1962 in Mossend.

READ MORE: Lamenting the loss of Glasgow's super department stores

If my dad was counting on any help from his father, then a senior buyer (and later Managing Director) of the giant steel firm Colvilles, he had another think coming. He didn’t believe in nepotism.

When Fermac won a Royal Navy contract to dismantle metal buoys and wire rope in Aultbea, near Ullapool, my dad sent up a team of men and supplied their wages and dig money so they were ready to start that Monday.

Glasgow Times:

But instead he got a call from the local base commander asking when he would be “replacing his men”. They’d blown the money buying everyone drinks and, when this wasn’t reciprocated, smashed up the bar and spent the weekend in Porterfield Prison in Inverness.

My dad was President of the Scottish Metals Association 1978-79 and through the years his expertise on dismantling and processing scrap was sought in as far flung places as Puerto Rico, Texas and East Africa.

READ MORE: Glasgow inventor whose futuristic railplane nearly took off..

In the mid 70s Fermac went in to a partnership with Charles W Ireland Ltd and in the 80s, Dutch company Jewo Metals became the major shareholder.

It was to them my dad sent an 11th hour fax, asking for hundreds of thousands of pounds to secure the sale of the fire-damaged oil rig Ocean Odyssey, which they then spent two years dismantling in Dundee.

Glasgow Times:

My dad was always proud that the platform they sold on remains to this day - now functioning as a self-propelled semi-submersible mobile launch platform for spacecraft.

Despite his busy workload my dad had time for many other things, including his Christian faith, which was an integral part in his life.

He was an active member of Westcoats Evangelical and Hamilton Baptist Churches and will be remembered for teaching Sandford Sunday School.

He had a knack for making the lessons and songs interactive and fun.

His work through Prison Fellowship with my mum Lorraine and my aunt Pat, and many other colleagues at Dungavel Prison, was instrumental in changing the lives of many prisoners for the better.

He managed to serve his community, his church and his family (he was never late back from the office) despite suffering from ME for most of his adult life and retired as a result of the illness in 2000.

Diagnosed with lung cancer last year he was stoic in his last months - never complaining about his situation.

Nothing ever fazed him. What mattered was people – and his first love was always his family.

Glasgow Times:

On the night my sister Lisa was born and the local policeman rang to tell my dad to get to his yard because the office was burning down, my dad said he’d check it in the morning.

Four casters from the office chair and a paper knife were all that was left.

“But I had a beautiful wee daughter,” he said.