A MINISTER attending General Assembly in Edinburgh has been killed in road accident.

Members of the Church of Scotland were shocked and saddened by the death of Rev Tom Sinclair on Monday around 5pm.

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The 76-year-old minister, a commissioner at the General Assembly this week, was on Waverley Bridge walking across the entrance road to Waverley station, when he was in collision with a car.

The incident happened when the Assembly finished for the day .

The minister was one of two people who died in three separate crashes within four hours. Eight others were injured.

He was killed during rush hour in the centre of Edinburgh, just half an hour after eight people were injured - three seriously - in a major pile-up on the M74 in Lanarkshire. Earlier, a motorist died following a collision involving an HGV in Fife.

Waverley Bridge in the capital was closed for several hours as police investigated the fatal crash, which happened just after 5pm. The road between Market Street and Princes Street was shut off and the surrounding area was said to be heavily congested as investigations were carried out.

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance Service said: "We attended a road traffic accident on Waverley Bridge shortly after 5pm following multiple calls from members of the public."

The Moderator of the General Assembly, the Rt Rev John Chalmers remembered Mr Sinclair and his family in prayers at the start of the Assembly and assured the family that the prayers of the whole Church would continue to be with them.  

He said: "The news of Tom's death in such tragic circumstances came as a terrible shock to the General Assembly. Tom Sinclair loved the Church of Scotland and loved General Assembly, we mourn his loss and we commend his wife and family to the care of the community of faith and to the grace God.

"Tom's death is a painful tragedy for his wife and family and will come as real blow to the Presbytery of Lewis which he was still serving as Presbytery Clerk."

Mr Sinclair, originally from Glasgow, was Clerk to the Presbytery of Lewis for over 30 years. He is survived by his wife Pam and a son Jonathan, 43 who lives in Edinburgh.

Mr Sinclair entered the ministry young after studies at Trinity College Glasgow. He completed his probation in Aberdeen Holburn Central with the legendary Dr Knox.

His first parish was Scourie in Sutherland - (now known as Eddrachillis). He later moved to Martin's Memorial, Stornoway in the seventies where he served for almost 30 years.

Police Scotland said the area was cordoned yesterday for some hours while full accident investigations were carried out.

A police spokesman said: The accident involved a man being struck by a car on the bridge near to the pedestrian ramp entrance to Waverley Station."

The accident happened just over half an hour after three people were seriously injured in a multi-vehicle pile-up on the M74.

A total of eight people were taken to hospital after the crash happened at around 4.25pm yesterday.

Six cars and two lorries were involved in the collision, which resulted in the closure of the northbound carriageway between junction six at Hamilton and junction five at Raith Interchange, causing significant rush-hour tailbacks.

One person was airlifted to hospital and another seven were treated at the scene by paramedics before being taken to hospital.

Debris from the vehicles could be seen strewn across the motorway as the accident investigation work got under way.

A Scottish Ambulance Service spokeswoman said five people were taken to Wishaw General and two were rushed to the Southern General in Glasgow, while one person was taken to Monklands Hospital.

Earlier in the afternoon a major route through Fife was closed temporarily after a fatal crash involving a lorry. One person died and the A92 was closed between Crossgates and Cowdenbeath after the collision, at around 1.20pm.

Police said the details of the victim would not be released until next of kin had been notified.

Meanwhile, the family of a man who lost his life in a one-car crash last week described him as someone who will be sadly missed.

Graeme McKenzie, 37, died after the collision on the A941 near Rothes, Moray at 5pm on Friday.

His mother Kate said: "Graeme was a well-kent face in Rothes. He was a good friend to many and was very much a Rothes loon who would have helped anybody.

"He was always cheery."

She added: "We are all truly devastated by what has happened but have been absolutely overwhelmed by the support from the community. He was a lovely son and he will be sadly missed by all who knew him."

A 37-year-old man has been reported to the procurator fiscal in connection with the incident.