• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

1000 pack cathedral for funeral of Clutha crash WPC

Hundreds of police officers have attended the funeral of a colleague killed when a helicopter crashed through the roof of a pub.

Constable Kirsty Nelis, 36, was on board the police helicopter which plunged through the roof of the Clutha pub in Glasgow, killing nine people.

Uniformed Police Scotland officers saluted as her coffin entered St Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow, where up to 1,000 mourners turned out to pay their respects, led by Ms Nelis's parents and husband Mark, also a serving officer.

The requiem mass took place just 200 yards from the scene of the disaster on November 29.

Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia said: "Along with Kirsty, we pray for the other eight people who died in the tragedy, the injured, especially those who are still recovering, the bereaved, and all those who have been affected by this sad event. And we pray too for Police Scotland and for the city of Glasgow.

"In this funeral mass, we thank God for Kirsty's life and for the blessing she was to her husband, to all who loved her, and to her colleagues.

"We pray that God will show her his abundant mercy and admit her to the joys of heaven."

The crash occurred when Pc Nelis and colleague Pc Tony Collins, 43, were returning from a police operation. They were killed alongside pilot David Traill, 51, and six others inside the pub.

It has not yet been established what caused the helicopter to drop from the sky, though investigators say initial evidence rules out engine or gearbox failure.

First Minister Alex Salmond and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill attended the hour-long service. Glasgow Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, council leader Gordon Matheson and Glasgow East Labour MP Margaret Curran were present, along with Clutha owner Alan Crossan and manager Saverio Petri, who was using crutches.

The head of Police Scotland, Chief Constable Sir Stephen House, gave a Bible reading at the packed service which many people had to listen to while standing in the doorway.

A private service followed at Clydebank Crematorium.

The Archbishop said in his sermon: "Mark and her family are rightly proud of her, but their hearts nonetheless ache for the loss of her. And that pain will not go away quickly.

"My dear friends, you must comfort one another and allow yourselves to be comforted. You will be comforted by your love for Kirsty and her love for you, by your pride in her, by many wonderful memories, and all of these precious and personal things will help to sustain you through this difficult and trying time, and into the future."

The family thanked friends and Ps Nelis's colleagues in a message on the back of the order of service which said they had received "overwhelming kindness, love and support".

Helicopter pilot Mr Traill was remembered at a service at Glasgow University on Saturday and mourners attended the funeral of Pc Collins on the Isle of Arran yesterday.

Tributes were also paid to pub customer John McGarrigle, 57, at a requiem mass in Castlemilk.

The funerals of two further Clutha victims - Mark O'Prey, 44, from East Kilbride, and Gary Arthur, 48, from Paisley - were held on Monday.

The others who died were Robert Jenkins, 61, Colin Gibson, 33, and Samuel McGhee, 56.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.