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Clutha fund overwhelmed by donations from near and far

DONATIONS to a fund set up to help those affected by the Clutha tragedy have been pouring in from around the world.

TRIBUTE: Members of the public continued to lay flowers near the scene of last week's helicopter crash in which nine people died. Picture: Colin Templeton
TRIBUTE: Members of the public continued to lay flowers near the scene of last week's helicopter crash in which nine people died. Picture: Colin Templeton

Fund organisers said they have been overwhelmed by the number of calls pledging support.

The fund was launched with a £20,000 donation from Glasgow City Council. Alex Salmond announced the Scottish Government would match that amount.

Since then there has been a steady stream of people and organisations keen to help the families of the nine people who died when a police helicopter plunged through the roof of the busy pub on Friday night. The fund will also help survivors and anyone affected by the tragedy.

Glasgow's Lord Provost Sadie Docherty said: "I'm very proud of the generosity with which the public has responded to the appeal - both in Glasgow and much further afield. We have also heard from a lot of people who are planning their own fundraising activities in the weeks to come."

Glasgow City Council was unable to give an exact total for the fund as money is still being counted, but tens of thousands of pounds have been raised, with more expected to come in over the next few weeks.

North and South Lanarkshire councils have each agreed a £5000 donation to the appeal.

The wreckage of the three-tonne Eurocopter was removed from the scene on Monday and taken by lorry to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) base in Farnborough, Hampshire, where it arrived on Tuesday night.

Investigators have stated the helicopter pilot made no mayday call and no black box data recorder was on board. A preliminary report is expected within the next few days but the full findings are not expected for several months.

Eleven people injured in the crash remain in hospitals across Glasgow.

The people in the bar who died were Robert Jenkins, 61; Mark O'Prey, 44; Colin Gibson, 33; John McGarrigle, 57; Gary Arthur, 48; and Samuel McGhee, 56. The crew members were pilot David Traill, 51, and officers Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 43.

The bodies have been released to the families and Police Scotland said arrangements are being made for the funerals. Mr O'Prey's will take place in East Kilbride on Monday. The funeral of Pc Collins will be on Arran on Tuesday.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has given details of how the crash will be investigated "to help inform grieving relatives of the next steps": the AAIB investigation will take precedence because it is responsible for ensuring the safety of other aircraft; police will continue to gather any evidence; and COPFS is in charge of the overall investigation.

John Logue, procurator fiscal for the east of Scotland, said: "The responsibility of the procurator fiscal is to investigate all sudden and unexplained deaths … with a view to determining whether there should be a criminal prosecution or a fatal accident inquiry.

"There is a lot of work to be done yet by a number of different organisations before any decision will be taken as to whether there is to be a fatal accident inquiry.

"It is a high priority for us to keep the families of those who have died as well-informed as we can throughout the investigation."

l Anyone needing support can call the dedicated helpline on 0141 287 0999.

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