Glasgow bin lorry crash victims remembered at service

Memorial Held for the Victims of the Glasgow Bin Lorry Crash

A special service is taking place to mark the first anniversary of the Glasgow bin lorry tragedy, which claimed the lives of six people exactly a year ago.

Rev Dr Laurence Whitley said the event would allow people in the city to "stand in solidarity" with one another

Seven candles are to be lit at Glasgow Cathedral - one for each of the six victims and a seventh for all those injured and affected by the crash, which saw a bin lorry driven by Harry Clarke go out of control after he blacked out at the wheel.

The families of the victims - Erin McQuade, Jack Sweeney, Lorraine Sweeney, Stephenie Tait, Jacqueline Morton, and Gillian Ewing - were all invited to attend, although some said they will mark the anniversary in private.

Henry Toal and Matthew Telford, the two crew men who were travelling in the bin lorry when it crashed, were among the hundreds of people at the memorial.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joined the congregation along with Glasgow City Council leader Frank McAveety and Sadie Docherty, Lord Provost of Glasgow.

Members of the emergency services who helped at the scene and those caught up in the crash in Queen Street on December 22 last year were also present.

Welcoming people to the service, Dr Whitley recalled the "tragedy that befell our city a year ago today".

He said the service "allows the opportunity for us all in our great city to stand in solidarity with one another and express our prayerful support for all those affected by what happened".

The service was organised by Glasgow Churches Together and the cathedral was full to its 700-seat capacity.

The order of service asked the congregation to "join with us to offer comfort and support at this most difficult time for so many people".

During a fatal accident inquiry into the crash, it emerged Mr Clarke had a history of blackouts and faints which he had not disclosed to the DVLA or when applying for the job at Glasgow City Council.

The sheriff who chaired the inquiry ruled the crash might have been avoided if Mr Clarke had told the truth about his medical history.

Candles were also lit in remembrance of the tragedy at the University of Glasgow, where both Ms McQuade and Ms Tait had studied.

A picture of a candle in the university's chapel was posted on Twitter by the institution with the comment: "Remembering Erin McQuade & Stephenie Tait: two members of the UofG family we sadly lost in the bin lorry tragedy.

"Our thoughts and prayers are also with their families and friends and those too of Erin's grandparents Jack and Lorraine Sweeney, Jacqueline Morton and Gillian Ewing, as well as all those who were injured. Always in our hearts."

Candles were lit as the names of the six victims were read out at the service. A relation or friend of each victim carried a three-wick candle and placed it on the altar.

A seventh was also lit for all those injured and affected by the crash.

The congregation then stood as a two-minute silence was held in memory of those who lost their lives.

The service was led by the Right Rev Dr Gregor Duncan, of the Scottish Episcopal Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway, and the Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia.

During his reflection, Rev Duncan said he was in Queen Street at the time of the crash. He described what happened as an accident, but "an accident waiting to happen".

He said: "My situation was many, many worlds away from the terror and horror of being caught up in the day itself.

"No-one but those directly involved can presume to know what that was like. God is to be found in those who ran to help, in the emergency services ... in every tear shed."

The First Minister did a reading from the Book of Wisdom and prayers were also said for the bereaved families, witnesses to the crash, the emergency services and members of the public who helped at the scene on the day.