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Prayers are said for dead and injured in Glasgow

23 December 2014

THE Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway, Dr Gregor Duncan, has spoken of his shock at seeing bodies lying in the street outside his diocesan office after yesterday's fatal accident in St George's Square, Glasgow.

Police have confirmed that six people died in the incident. In their account of the accident, they say: "Glasgow City Council bin lorry was travelling north on Queen Street when it appeared to strike pedestrians outside the Gallery of Modern Art before continuing to travel towards George Square, when it crashed at the Millennium Hotel on Queen Street at George Square."

Bishop Duncan saw two bodies lying in the road as he returned to the diocesan office after visiting a bank. He said on Tuesday that, as he approached the scene, "I saw another body lying in the street which was really pretty horrific, covered with a white sheet.

"I went over and spoke with a member of the emergency services and said I was a priest, could I help.

"And this is the thing I will never forget, apart from the sight of the bodies: she said: 'Just stand there Father, and pray, because five souls. . .' meaning, I think, that five people had been killed. It is now six, of course. So I did that, and then came back into the office. . .

"I just stood there and commended everybody: the dead, the injured, and their loved ones to the love and mercy of God. That's all you can do."

Also on Tuesday, the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, joined senior police officers and members of the public at a prayer service at St George's, Tron, Church of Scotland.  Also present were the leader of Glasgow City Council, Cllr George Matheson, and the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Cllr Sadie Docherty; The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, the Most Revd Philip Tartaglia, was due to say a requiem mass at St Andrew's Cathedral that evening.

"We come . . . in a place of sorrow and shock; in a place of brokenness and grief," said the Revd Alastair Duncan, Minister of St George's, Tron, as he led prayers in the morning's service. "Buried in our hearts [is] just a little of the pain and devastation that has come to families in this city and affected the lives of ordinary people as they went about their business in excited anticipation of Christmas."

"It has been well said that Glasgow loves people; but yesterday Glasgow lost some of her people," the Moderator of the Glasgow Presbytery, the Revd Stuart Smith, told the congregation in his morning's service.

"Each death and each injury that took place yesterday afternoon is, of course, a personal tragedy, and we need to pray God's blessing on those in greatest need."

In November 2013, ten people were killed when a police helicopter crashed through the roof of the Clutha nightclub in Glasgow. Bishop Duncan said that people in the city would respond to this week's tragedy as they did last year: "People will come together, and it is not so much the words that are said; it's the people offering themselves to help people and to be in some kind of solidarity with them. Glasgow people will do that.

"The city is very good at celebrating. We have had a wonderful year in many ways; but we have had these terrible disasters, too.

Flags in the city were flying at half-mast, and the Christmas lights in St George's Square were switched off

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