Flowers for tears as Clutha site changes

December 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Police Chief Superintendent Andy Bates and Fire Commander George McGrandles look at some of the flower tributes after leaving their own.

Now that the helicopter has been extracted from the Clutha Vaults and is on its way to the Air Accident Investigations unit in Farnborough and following the release of the names of the final four victims of the tragedy, the disaster site has been handed over to Glasgow City Council’s structural engineers to make it safe.

There is ongoing Police Scotland investigation at the riverside spot where a Police Scotland helicopter plummeted into the roof of the busy pub on Friday 29 November. Nine people died in the tragedy.

Hundreds of bouquets of flowers have been placed by people near the spot. Today, Chief Superintendent Andy Bates, Divisional Commander for Greater Glasgow and Area Commander George McGrandles of Scottish Fire and Rescue, added their floral  tokens of shared grief to the array of bouquets.

Quietly, they laid down their tributes, saluted, paused for a moment or two and left the scene.

The flowers left on behalf of the police and fire and rescue services

Two police officers and the pilot of the Police Scotland helicopter died in the disaster along with six people who were in the popular Clutha Vaults pub on St Andrew’s eve.

The identity of the final four people has been confirmed as: Robert Jenkins, 61; Mark O’Prey, 44; both from East Kilbride; Colin Gibson, 33, of Ayr, and John McGarrigle, 57, from Cumbernauld.

The others who perished were: Pilot Captain Dave Traill, 51; Police Constable Tony Collins, 43; Police Constable Kirsty Nelis, 36; and pub patrons: Gary Arthur, 48; and Samuel McGhee, 56.

In releasing the final names, Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said: ‘Our thoughts first and foremost are with the families and friends of all those who have died. As our investigation continues we will, of course, go on providing support to the families involved.

‘This has been a difficult and complex operation which has involved painstaking work and the skills of specialist personnel from across the emergency services. I would like to thank all those involved for their professionalism and the respect with which they conducted this operation.

‘I would also like to thank all those who have passed on their messages of sympathy and support. This continues to be of great comfort.

‘The management of the incident has now been handed over to Glasgow City Council. The Police Scotland investigation, led by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, and the inquiry by the Air Accident Investigation Branch both continue.’

Fire and rescue service staff have shown ‘exemplary’ courage and dedication throughout the process of rescue and recovery at the Clutha Pub since Friday, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and Roseanna Cunningham, Minister for Community Safety said today.

Speaking during a visit to Calton Community Fire Station, the Ministers met officers and crews who had taken part in the rescue efforts at the Clutha Vaults.

Ahead of a parliamentary statement by the First Minister at 2pm today, Ministers said the way the tragedy and its aftermath had been handled demonstrated the vital importance of  Scotland’s fire and rescue service and the excellent work they do.

Mr MacAskill said: ‘This has been a traumatic few days for  Glasgow, and for  Scotland, and we grieve for the lives of the nine men and women lost.

‘This morning, Ms Cunningham and I were privileged to meet firefighters, some of whom have been working round the clock at the Clutha since Friday.

‘The search for survivors is now concluded. However, while we will learn more about how and why this tragedy occurred, these events have underlined that  Scotland has a heroic fire and rescue service. I’d like to pay tribute to them all and everyone, emergency services and ordinary citizens alike, who helped in the rescue effort, of which we can be rightly proud.’

Ms Cunningham added: ‘The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service played a key role as part of the emergency services response which undoubtedly saved lives after the helicopter crashed on Friday night. The way in which they responded to an incident of this scale is truly exemplary. Air accident investigators have described this as one of the most complex crash sites they have ever worked on.

‘We are all indebted to their remarkable courage and dedication, working on a hugely complex operation, the relief effort from all of our emergency services has been simply heroic.’

Alasdair Hay, Chief Officer for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, paid tribute to fire and rescue staff who have worked closely with their colleagues from emergency services and partner agencies since the helicopter crash on Friday evening. He said: ‘This incident was a very challenging, complex situation and I am extremely proud of my staff for such a dedicated and professional response.

‘While fire fighters train for these sorts of emergency situations, the reality of actually dealing with them takes its toll on us emotionally and physically. It has been an extremely difficult time for everyone involved and I have the utmost respect for every single person who has been part of this operation.

‘I would also like to pay tribute to our Control Room staff and support staff who have also worked extremely hard, ensuring a first class response to an extremely difficult incident which has affected people not just in Glasgow but across Scotland and beyond. Our thoughts remain with all those affected by this tragedy.’

Yesterday, Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and Minister for Public Health, Michael Matheson, visited the Scottish Ambulance Service at Springburn Ambulance Station and met personnel who’d responded within one minute of the Clutha incident being notified and who’d subsequently attended to the injured there. The Deputy First Minister said: ‘We are here to put on record our enormous thanks to all who were involved. I know beyond a shadow of doubt they saved lives.’ She added her personal thanks to them and said they had ‘shown great heroism’ through their ‘continued professionalism.’

Commander Gary Hardacre, Head of Risk and Resilience for the Service offered his condolences to all who were affected by the incident. ‘The enormity of this has affected us all.’

Police and emergency services personnel formed a guard of honour for the helicopter as the 3 tonne wreck was taken away to Farnborough for intensive scrutiny.

Following the discharge of a patient yesterday evening, 11 people now remain in hospital being treated for a range of serious injuries including bone fractures, spinal injuries, lacerations, chest injuries and head injuries. Seven people are in Glasgow Royal Infirmary, three are in the National Queen Elizabeth Spinal Injuries Unit at the Southern General Hospital and one person remains in the Western Infirmary. Originally 14 people were hospitalised after sustaining serious injuries. More than 120 people were in the pub at the time the Police helicopter plummeted through its roof.

Poignant mementos among the mound of flowers included a martial arts white belt, a toy police helicopter with three red roses and a tee shirt from Ska fans whose band Esperanza were playing in the Clutha that night.

A toy police helicopter and three red roses was a poignant memento.


A field of flowers shows a city's grief


Four helicopter disaster victims named

December 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The body of one of the eight victims of the Police helicopter disaster was removed from the wreckage of the Clutha Vaults pub today and taken to the Southern General Hospital where the formal process of identification continues. Police emphasised this takes time and has to be done completely to avoid the risk of misidentification and additional distress to the families.

Meanwhile, the painstaking work of extracting the impacted helicopter from the building continues. Safety for everyone concerned in that process is paramount, say Police Scotland.

So far, four of the eight casualties of the helicopter crashing into the busy riverside pub, have been identified.

The three who were in the helicopter were: Air Support crew, Constable Tony Collins, 43, Constable Kirsty Nelis, 36 and pilot Captain Dave Traill, 51. Both Police officers had been commended for bravery in separate incidents.  The fourth person was pub patron, Gary Arthur, 48, from the Paisley area. His family has been informed.  Other victims  are likely to be indentified, formally, today.

Twelve people with serious injuries, still remain in hospitals across Glasgow.

Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick said: ‘We request anyone who has information or footage of the incident to contact us by calling 101, so that we can continue to build a picture of what happened on Friday night.

‘Our casualty bureau has already handled more than 600 calls and we are working hard to piece together information that will allow us to progress that.

‘We are providing support to the families affected.’

The Police Scotland Casualty Bureau number is 0800 092 0410. Callers should ONLY contact this number if they have concerns for relatives who may have been in the Clutha Vaults pub or surrounding area at the time of the incident.

Anyone who has photographs or audio or video footage of the incident or of the surrounding areas, is asked to forward it to:

They are asked to make sure they leave their contact details should the Investigating Team need to ask them for further information.

Police ask for help in assault case

March 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Detectives are appealing for information after a man was seriously assaulted in Govan on Thursday 22 March 2012.

Between 1545 and 1600 hours on Thursday afternoon, a 32 year old man was attacked by two men as he left a house in Crossloan Terrace, Govan. He was taken by ambulance to the Southern General Hospital where he was detained.  At the time of writing (Saturday 21 March ) hospital staff described his condition as stable.

Detective Constable Chris Smith, Govan CID, is appealing for witnesses.  He said: “The man was in his friend’s house when two men came to the door and entered the flat. Once  inside, an argument took place between them and the friend, so he left the flat.  However, as he went into the street, he was attacked from behind and badly beaten.

“We are keen to speak to three men who were in the area at the time and who might be able to help us with our enquiries.  They are described as possibly being in their 30’s, white and Scottish.  One was wearing a red tracksuit, another a brown jacket and the third a green top.  Their information could prove significant in the enquiry.

“Crossloan Terrace is residential and overlooked by many flats.  It is possible that people nearby will have seen or heard a disturbance outside. If they did, I would ask them to phone Helen Street CID on 0141 532 5400 or CRIMESTOPPERS on 0800 555 111 where details can be given in confidence.”

Flora says ‘thank you’

September 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Govan Reminiscent Group members at their display in Fairfield on Doors Open Day. From the front: Flora Pagan (81), Jane Melvin (87), Jim 'the boy' McDonald (73) and Bob Watterson (85).

Fund-raiser Flora Pagan has just raised £473.63 for Action for Hearing Loss. The Govanite sold her own baking and jam in two days at the Doors Open Day event in the Fairfield building.  And the remarkable thing about her voluntary effort is that she is 81. ‘But £82 of that came from Dot Courtney’s tombola,’ exclaimed Flora who does not want the credit for her good work. ‘I want to thank everyone and let them know I’m very grateful for their donations and support.’  She admits she can’t sit still and likes to be ‘doing something.’  That ‘something’ generally means the jeely pan is on the boil or the baking is being prepared for the freezer. Last year Flora dedicated her work to a Diabetes charity and raised £2400.55p in  twelve months. ‘I decided to support Action for Hearing Loss this year,’ she said. ‘They have a clinic at the Southern General Hospital and I go there myself.’   She  finds ready buyers at the weekly Govan Reminiscence Group on Tuesday afternoons at the Hills Trust in Govan. ‘We’re always happy to welcome new blood into the Group,’ she said cheerfully.

The picture shows the Reminiscence Group team who had a display at the Doors Open Day in the Fairfield Building – from front- Flora Pagan (81) Jane Melvin (87) Jim ‘The boy’  McDonald (73) Bob Watterson (85).

The Group’s collection of artefacts helps illustrate what life was like for them in previous years. There were skipping ropes which girls used to play with but which unintentionally also kept them fit with the exercise. There was a ration book from World War 2 to illustrate how food was allocated fairly and in healthy proportions even when it was scarce. They use items like these to remember and record stories of past times to keep them alive for future generations. It also keeps their own minds alert and able to cope with making hundreds of pots of jam and counting the benefit for a good cause.

Mosque pulls in the pints of blood

January 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Around 125 people saved several lives at Glasgow Central Mosque recently when they donated blood.
The initiative broke the previous record of 67 people attending for the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS).
Instigated and organised by Rizy Mohammed, of Soul Therapy Scotland, and his band of volunteers, it is the third time the Mosque has invited the SNBTS to set up in their community hall.
Local residents in Gorbals, workers in the Procurator Fiscal’s office across the road, staff from the nearby Sheriff Court and worshippers from the Mosque and local churches all waited patiently to give their 470 mililitre of blood in their life-saving mission – nearly a pint.
Said Rizy: ‘Blood banks are always very low in January, that’s why we chose this date.’  His concern first arose when his son, now aged six, had to have transfusions at birth. ‘I paced the floor of the Southern General and Yorkhill Sick Kids hospitals, ‘ he said.
Nicola Sturgeon MSP, Health Minister for Scotland dropped in to lend encouragement to those waiting for the 40 minute procedure: ‘This truly gives someone a new lease of life,’ she said. ‘This also brings people together to do some good for the community.’
Mosque General Secretary, Dr Mohammad Shafi Kausar said: ‘As a practicing G.P, I am very aware of the need for blood. It is heartening to see Glasgow Central Mosque facilities being utilised in this way. This is what Islam advocates and encourages – preserving and saving lives.’
Moira Eadie, of the Blood Transfusion Services, said: ‘This is an excellent community and interfaith event to acquire blood from donors. This will preserve and save lives.’
Westminster MP, Tom Harris, who was both a volunteer and a donor on the day, said: ‘It was good to see so many of the community willing to participate in the life saving event.’
Dr Nadeem Bhattie G.P, added: ‘All records were broken in respect of last year’s amount of blood collected and of new donors who came forward – including the ladies.’ A separate screened area with female assistants had been arranged for them. Other Mosques are now interested in carrying out similar events.
A donosdc10784r can be from 17 years old. The number of active blood donors in Scotland declined by 14% in the last decade, with a further fall predicted this year.
More than 400 premature babies are born every month in Scotland. Each may require up to 50 transfusions while only three teaspoons of blood is also capable of saving a child’s life.
SNBTS provides blood transfusions for 100,000 patients each year

For more information: call 0845 90 90 999, text blood to 61611 or visit to register

Police Appeal following Pollok Attempted Murder

September 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Detectives at Pollok Police Office are appealing for witnesses following an incident in Pollok on Saturday 18 September 2010.

Around 2310 hours, a 31 year-old woman was at her home address in Haughburn Road, Pollok with family, when an object was thrown through her front window. A second object, which had been set alight, was thrown at the entrance door causing minor fire and smoke damage.

Nobody was seriously injured, however, the woman’s son, 5, was taken to Glasgow Southern General Hospital to be treated for minor cuts from glass. He was later discharged following treatment.

Police are treating the incident as attempted murder.

Detective Sergeant Wilson Davidson at Pollok CID is continuing enquiries and appealing for witnesses. He said:

“Our investigation is at an early stage and we are currently working to establish a motive for this reckless and mindless act which could have had far more serious consequences.

“We believe that a group of male youths may have been responsible, however, we are not clear exactly how many were involved – all we know at this stage is that they were wearing dark clothing and described as aged between 20- 25 yrs of age.

He continued:

“I would appeal to any local residents or anyone who was in the vicinity of Haughburn Road that night around 2310 hours who may have seen or heard a disturbance, or may have seen a group of male youths hanging around prior to the incident or running off afterwards, to get in touch with police as a matter of urgency.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detectives at Pollok CID on 0141
532 5616. Alternatively, information can be passed to CRIMESTOPPERS on 0800
555 111 where anonymity will be maintained.

Quiet heroes come home

April 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Family welcome: A sparkling reunion for Margot McCrone and family

Family welcome: A sparkling reunion for Margot McCrone and family

The Scottish medics who staffed the Military Field Hospital in Afghanistan for the past three months, returned home to their Govan base on Monday 26 April.
After four days of travelling and de-briefing, the weary Territoral Army personnel arrived around midnight to be embraced by relieved families and friends. While glasses of champagne were awaiting them, most settled for a cup of tea, a cheerio to their comrades and home to their own bed for a good night’s rest after the constant trauma of living and working in a war zone.
Commanding Officer Colonel David McArthur in dismissing everyone for well-deserved leave said: ‘In 205 Field Hospital we aim to do something well. In this tour of duty, you did extremely well. Due to your medical skills, Afghan, US and UK people are alive. You worked in an outstanding way and co-operated with US and Allied medical teams to provide top line care in the busiest trauma centre in the world. It was a very good, but also a very sad experience. You come back with a plethora of experiences and professional development. I say to you – well done and welcome home.’
Second-in-command, Lt Col Roddy Neilson added: ‘You have won high respect. We are very, very proud of each and every one of you.’
Almost 100 medical professionals from hospitals from Glasgow to Aberdeen, serve in the Territorial Army unit 205 (Scottish) Field Hospital (Volunteers) which has its headquarters in Govan.
For some personnel, such as Cpl Michelle Williamson, who is a staff nurse at the Southern General in civilian life, this tour was her second time in the conflict zone.
‘It was a fantastic experience,’ she told the LOCAL NEWS. ‘Our patients were casualties of every nationality. It was nice when we’d bump into a discharged patient who’d say how much they’d appreciated the care they’d received. After all, they are the ones who are risking their lives every time.’
Her Mother, Michelle said: ‘We are delighted she is home and we’re very proud of her, for she’s doing a good job.’
Captain Margot McCrone admitted it was a very difficult experience. ‘The reality is so different from what you imagine. It was a very busy theatre and you saw raw trauma,’ said the Theatre Team Leader who works in the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank. ‘It was also the best experience of my life.’
Her parents, Hugh and Charlotte and brother Douglas, were all at Govan to welcome her home. Said Mrs McCrone: ‘We’re very proud and very, very relieved she’s home. I’m sure she’s gained a lot from being in Afghanistan. She enjoys the TA and is very positive about her work.’
During their stint in Afghanistan, the medics received visits from Prince Charles, the Princess Royal and the Prime Minister.
In June, the Field Hospital unit will be honoured by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons with a dinner in Glasgow and they will be given a Civic Reception by Glasgow City Council.

Govan Medics off to Afghanistan

January 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

A team of Glasgow-based doctors, nurses and clinicians have spent the Christmas and New Year period preparing for deployment to Southern Afghanistan. Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon MSP visited them before they headed off to treat the wounded in that war theatre.
The Nation Health Service staff are all Territorial Army (TA) volunteers at 205 (Scottish) Field Hospital (Volunteers) base which is in the Health Secretary’s Govan constituency.
She spoke with Commanding Officer Colonel David McArthur, his senior staff, and many of the team who will be flying to Afghanistan this month for a three-month tour.
‘Working in the NHS is already a huge contribution for anyone to make to society. To use your professional expertise and volunteer in the forces, too, is truly selfless,’ she said.
In his civilian role as a staff nurse, Captain Ernie Dagless, from Springburn, is on emergency operating theatre teams at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
His first TA deployment was to Iraq in 2003.
‘I see a broad spectrum of injuries and work around all the surgical specialities,’ Ernie said. ‘The same is going to happen on deployment, there are going to be injuries and we are going to be the people to treat them. It’s my job to deal with whatever comes in the door.’
That pragmatic approach to work will keep the TA medics focused, he believes. ‘The environment is different – it is in the middle of the desert – but you’re aiming to do the best you can for people.’
Corporal Michelle Williamson, from Broomhill, specialises in treating spinal injury patients at the Southern General Hospital. While acknowledging that nursing is seen as perhaps a traditional role for women on the field of battle, she points out that more of her female peers are moving into combat operations. The recognition that men and women bring different but complementary skills to battlefield triage (prioritising casualties) is crucial in the smooth running of her unit.
‘Women are a very important part of the military. It’s important to have a female face in many situations,’ Michelle said. ‘Women also bring many skills to the job and you need the skills mix between men and women. It’s the same in any place of employment.’
The LOCAL NEWS GLASGOW hopes to carry a blog from the unit. Watch this website for updates from the battle front.