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Ninth Clutha victim funeral draws hundreds to Castlemilk church

Hundreds of mourners have gathered for the funeral of another victim of the Clutha helicopter crash.

Picture: Colin Templeton

Samuel McGhee, 56, was one of 10 people killed when a police helicopter crashed through the roof of the Glasgow pub two weeks ago.

Family and friends of Mr McGhee gathered at a service at St Margaret Mary's Church in the Castlemilk area of the city today.

A kilted piper played Amazing Grace at the church door as the hearse arrived.

Among the congregation were Mr McGhee's son and daughter by his late partner Liz - Michael, 25, and Kerry, 20 - and his son from a previous relationship, James Diver, 33.

The two sons embraced each other as they helped to carry their father's coffin into the church. Mr McGhee's daughter wept as she entered the service carrying a red rose.

Chief Superintendent Barry McEwan, of Police Scotland, was among the mourners, along with Glasgow Lord Provost Sadie Docherty and Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson.

A white floral tribute reading "Dad" was placed outside the church door.

Before his funeral, his family paid tribute, saying: "We'd like to start by thanking the tireless efforts of the emergency services and the ordinary people of Glasgow on Friday night. Without them we're sure a lot more people would have lost their lives.

"It's been an incredibly difficult time for us and everyone involved with the tragedy, but the support from family, friends and the people of Glasgow has been overwhelming.

"Special thanks must be extended to the police liaison officers, Anderson Maguire funeral directors and the local Castlemilk community, in particular the people of Holmbyre, who have been unbelievably helpful and generous.

"Our father was a dedicated partner to our late mother and a dedicated parent to his children, who was just beginning to get his life back on track after the loss of our mum.

"As you can imagine this has been an intensely painful experience for us but we're strengthened by the knowledge that he passed away a happy man, among friends at a place he loved.

"We kindly ask for our privacy to be respected at this moment in time."

A service will be held at the city's Linn Crematorium after the church.

Meanwhile, Police Scotland named the 10th victim of the tragedy as Joe Cusker, 59, of Cambuslang, near Glasgow.

Mr Cusker had been receiving treatment at Glasgow Royal Infirmary since the crash but succumbed to his injuries yesterday.

Eight funerals have already been held for those who died.

Helicopter pilot David Traill, 51, was remembered in a service at Glasgow University last Saturday, and hundreds of police officers attended funerals this week for Pc Tony Collins, 43, on the Isle of Arran, and Pc Kirsty Nelis, 36, in Glasgow.

Tributes were paid to pub customer John McGarrigle, 57, at a Requiem Mass in Castlemilk, while the funerals of Mark O'Prey, 44, from East Kilbride, and Gary Arthur, 48, from Paisley, were held on Monday.

Colin Gibson, 33, and Robert Jenkins, 61, were laid to rest at separate funerals yesterday.

It has not yet been established what caused the helicopter to fall from the sky on November 29, although investigators say initial evidence rules out engine or gear box failure.

Bond Air Services yesterday temporarily suspended flights of the model of helicopter that crashed on the pub after a defect was discovered on a recent flight while safety checks were carried out.

The funeral mass was led by Rev Michael Savage and hymns I Watch The Sunrise, All That I Am, and Walk With Me, Oh My Lord were sung.

A passage on the order of service read: "Some people just can't help making a difference in our lives.

"By simply being who they are, they make the world a little brighter, a little warmer, a little gentler and when they're gone we realise how lucky we are to have known them."

It also carried a message from Mr McGhee's family that read: "The family wishes to thank all relatives and friends for their attendance here today, and for the kindness, love and support shown at this sad time."

The piper played Highland Cathedral and the church bells tolled as the coffin was carried out of the 45 minute service to the waiting hearse, again carried by Mr McGhee's two sons.

His daughter Kerry walked behind it holding a picture of her father and a red rose, followed by the funeral procession.

The floral tribute reading "Dad" was placed behind the coffin in the hearse.

Mourners lined the church gateway in respectful silence as the funeral cortege departed for Linn Crematorium, led by five police outriders.

After the crematorium Mr McGhee's family and friends will gather at The Millcroft pub in Rutherglen to remember him.

Clutha owner Alan Crossan and manager Saverio Petri attended the funeral service to pay their respects.

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