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A hug for Charles as he pays respects at Clutha

IT was a remarkable moment during what has been a remarkable week for the city.

ROYAL TRIBUTE: Prince Charles visited the site with Glasgow Lord Provost Sadie Docherty and also got a hug from Megan Faulds.
ROYAL TRIBUTE: Prince Charles visited the site with Glasgow Lord Provost Sadie Docherty and also got a hug from Megan Faulds.

As Prince Charles visited Glasgow in the aftermath of the Clutha pub helicopter disaster in which nine people died, little Megan Faulds grabbed him in a hug - and the heir to the throne hugged her back.

Afterwards the eight-year-old said: "I was so nervous I didn't know what to do, so I just hugged him. I went to let go and he hugged me harder - I got two hugs.

"He asked how I was and I said 'I'm fine'. I was so nervous. I wanted to ask about Prince George but I was so nervous I forgot."

Megan, a pupil at Quarrybrae Primary School in Glasgow, met the Prince of Wales, known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, with her grandmother, Ann Faulds.

She who was in the Clutha when the police helicopter crashed into its roof on a busy Friday night eight days ago.

Civilian pilot David Traill, 51, and police constables Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 43, were killed when the aircraft crashed while returning from a police operation.

Six people died inside the pub. They were Robert Jenkins, 61, Mark O'Prey, 44, Colin Gibson, 33, John McGarrigle, 57, Gary Arthur, 48, and Samuel McGhee, 56.

The first of the victims' funerals is due to be held today, with a service for Captain Traill at Glasgow University.

The prince met emergency service workers who helped at the Clutha last week. He heard about the complex rescue and recovery operation from Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House.

The prince, known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland, also spoke to Alasdair Hay, chief officer of Scottish Fire and Rescue, and Pauline Howie, chief executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Charles spent around 10 minutes inside the Clutha and met owner Alan Crossan, who said: "It's a special thing for people who have been affected and for the emergency services, who did an incredible job."

He also met crash survivors Calum Grierson and John Robson, who had been in the bar with eight friends when the helicopter struck.

The pair were saved by their friend Alan Torrance, 54, who was uninjured and helped to pull them to safety.

The group are neighbours who always go for a drink on the last Friday of the month. Mr Grierson, 59, who is on crutches after the crash, said: "We thought a bomb had gone off. It was terrifying.

"We were thrown back and all landed on each other. My other friends are still in hospital and I will have to go back in six weeks to have my leg scanned.

"Alan ran back in to pull us out and two girls who were first-aiders helped us. We are so grateful to them - I'd love to find them and thank them."

Mr Torrance added: "I don't think I did anything; it was just instinct. I was lucky because I'd moved backwards to let people past when the helicopter fell.

"It has been hard but we've been using humour to try and get through this. You wouldn't be Glaswegian if you didn't find something to laugh at."

At the City Chambers Prince Charles met privately with relatives of those who lost their lives in the crash and signed a book of condolence.

The Prince simply wrote "Charles" and the date.

He went on to Glasgow Royal Infirmary where he met around 40 health workers involved in the immediate response to the crash.

Leaving the hospital after just over half an hour, Charles said to all the gathered staff: "Well done everybody, I'm very proud of you."

Speaking after the visit, Andrew Robertson, chairman of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: "It's a great boost for everybody. It's recognition of the special effort over and above the call of duty.

"He was clearly showing appreciation and a great humanity. He was brilliant, he engaged with every single person here."

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