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Prayers for Clutha victims and helpers

06 December 2013

by a staff reporter


Prayed for: Fr Jim Thomson, a Fire Service chaplain, lights a candle for each of those killed in Glasgow, at St Andrew's RC Cathedral on Tuesday

Prayed for: Fr Jim Thomson, a Fire Service chaplain, lights a candle for each of those killed in Glasgow, at St Andrew's RC Cathedral on Tuesday

THE funerals of the nine people who were killed when a police helicopter crashed on the Clutha pub, in Glasgow, will be held over the next few days, as the bodies of the victims are released to their families.

Six of those who died were inside the pub, and three were in the police helicopter. Investigations into what caused the fatal crash have begun.

Prayers were said in churches across the city, and beyond, on Sunday, even as rescue workers were removing bodies from the scene.

The Church of Scotland chaplain to the Fire and Rescue service, the Revd Gordon Armstrong, was at the scene after the crash. "For the emergency services, it was personal, too," he said, "as some of their own were among the casualties. You could see from their physical demeanour how they felt. There was a sense of 'There but for the grace of God go any of us.'"

The Clutha is just 400 yards from the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St Andrew, and priests were at the scene after the crash last Friday night, as were a team from the Salvation Army. Mgr Christopher McElroy said that priests were available throughout the recovery, and one priest was asked to go into the ruined pub to pray over a victim.

"The cathedral has been open throughout," he said, "and people have been coming in to light candles to say prayers. The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, came in on Tuesday, and lit nine candles for the victims - he was very moved.

"Now, the recovery has stopped; but the street is still closed, there is an eerie silence."

The funeral for PC Kirsty Nelis, who was in the police helicopter, is to be held at the cathedral next Wednesday.

The Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway, Dr Gregor Duncan, said on Saturday: "On behalf of the Episcopal Church in Glasgow and across Scotland, I wish to extend our deepest sympathy to all the families of those who have lost their lives, and to those who have been injured in this terrible disaster.

"We also offer our gratitude to the many citizens of Glasgow who have come to the help of the people caught up in this tragedy, and praise the exemplary work being done by all the emergency services and medical staff.

"Our churches across Glasgow, and beyond, will be praying for all those affected by this tragedy and for the whole city of Glasgow."

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