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Prince Charles to meet Clutha emergency services workers

THE Prince of Wales is to meet some of the emergency services workers who were involved in the Glasgow helicopter crash rescue operation.

Prince Charles will visit the city today, one week after tragedy struck at the popular Clutha bar.

Nine people died when a police helicopter crashed on to the roof of the busy pub just before 10.30pm last Friday night.

The incident prompted a difficult and complex operation involving all of the emergency services. Their work, in dangerous conditions over several days, to search the site and remove the nine bodies from the ruins of the pub has been widely praised.

Prince Charles will meet some of those workers and will sign a book of condolence at Glasgow City Chambers.

More than 100 people were in the bar when the helicopter dropped out of the sky.

Six people inside the pub and the three people in the helicopter were killed. The people in the bar were Robert Jenkins, 61, Mark O'Prey, 44, 33-year-old Colin Gibson, John McGarrigle, 57, 48-year-old Gary Arthur and Samuel McGhee, 56. The crew members were pilot David Traill, 51, and officers Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 43.

The chief pilot of the company that owned the police helicopter which crashed on to the Clutha pub visited the scene yesterday. Andy Rooney, Bond's chief pilot, spent time looking at tributes near the crash site beside the Clyde.

Meanwhile, more than £100,000 has been donated to a fund to help bereaved relatives and survivors of the crash. The Clutha Appeal Fund has been established to support anyone involved in the disaster - including casualties and the families of those who died.

The Lord Provost's Goodwill Fund made the first £20,000 donation earlier this week and this has been bolstered by contributions from the Scottish Government and South and North Lanarkshire Councils. The Celtic FC Foundation and Hunter Foundation have pledged donations of £10,000 each.

Lord Provost Sadie Docherty said: "People have responded with incredible warmth and generosity to help those who were caught up in this tragic incident."

Some of the funerals of the nine victims are expected to take place over the next few days.

Two bagpipers - Craig McFarlane and Jonathan Graham - have volunteered their services to any families, agreeing to help mourners pay their respects by playing a piper's lament at the victims' services. Mr McFarlane, formerly of the 2nd Battalion Scots Guard, is a supporter of the Kiltwalk and Help for Heroes charities.

He said: "Piping remains a part of the fabric of Scottish life and the Clutha disaster has had an impact on everyone the country. I can only imagine how difficult it has been for the families involved.

"I just wanted to show my support. This is just one small gesture I am able to make."

Fellow piper Mr Graham, from Bishopbriggs, is a tutor at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow and has recently finished recording with Susan Boyle on her newest single Drummer Boy.

He said: "It was such a terrible disaster and I just felt I would be able to help out in some small way.

"We played near to the Clutha just the week previously," he added. "It's just awful to think something like this can happen to people listening to a band in a pub.

"We're hoping we can help in some way and would be more than happy to take part in any benefit events for the victims' families."

Requests can be made to Jonathan Graham at www.jgrahampiper.com or to Craig McFarlane via pipermcfarlane@gmail.com

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Transport Tragedy

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