A MEMORIAL service honouring the victims of the Dunblane massacre will be held on Wednesday.

The afternoon service for the 16 children and their teacher killed by gunman Thomas Hamilton, is by invitation only, with Prince Charles attending to represent the royal family.

Scots Secretary and local MP Michael Forsyth and Shadow Scottish Secretary George Robertson will join the congregation at Dunblane Cathedral.

BBC1 will televise the ceremony live and broadcast it on radio. The service will be relayed to local churches.

The ceremony will be conducted by the Very Reverend Professor James Whyte, a former moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, who conducted the memorial service to the victims of the Lockerbie air disaster.

The Reverend Colin McIntosh, minister at Dunblane Cathedral, said yesterday: ``We hope it will enable us to move on - to remember the children and their teacher but also to turn towards the future.

``I think the community is still very tense and strained. That is the reality we will have to live with for some time.''

The lobby for a hand-gun ban is expected to be discussed at the Tory Party conference in Bournemouth this week.

The issue is expected to be examined at a fringe meeting during the conference, when one of the speakers will be Mr Ron Tarry, former mayor of Hungerford, the scene of Michael Ryan's 1987 massacre.

Dunblane musician Ted Christopher is creating a music tape supporting a ban on hand guns.

Mr Christopher has penned new lyrics for Bob Dylan's song Knocking On Heaven's Door after getting approval from Dylan's management team.

One of the verses he has written is:

``Lord, these guns have caused too much pain,

``This town will never be the same.

``So, for the bairns of Dunblane,

``We ask, please, never again.''

Yesterday, Mr Christopher, who runs a music shop in Stirling, said he had recruited local musicians to work on the tape.

He was hopeful that some of the parents who lost children, and survivors of the massacre, would help produce a single and a video.

Mr Christopher said: ``Money has nothing to do with this. What we are planning is to get the message banning hand guns over to the public. Some of the parents are enthusiastic. We can only hope that the single is a big success and that people listen to the message.''

Rock and folk legend Bob Dylan has given his blessing for the song to be recorded as part of the campaign.

Mr Christopher said that, initially, Dylan's management and record company were reluctant for him to use the song because they regarded Dylan's lyrics as sacrosanct but within 24 hours they had reconsidered and said that in this one instance the song could be used.

Meanwhile, members of the Snowdrop campaign have criticised a computer game named Schoolyard Slaughter depicting the playground shooting of children where the player scores by shooting the children in the head. The hit is indicated by a splatter of blood and a pile of bones.

Shadow Scottish Secretary Mr Robertson, who lives in Dunblane, said yesterday: ``Anyone who has heard about this must be sickened and shaken by the depraved material. This sort of thing is against the law but perhaps not enough people know about it. It is time the law was given greater publicity before more of this stomach churning stuff becomes available.''

Mrs Ann Pearston, spokeswoman for the Snowdrop Campaign, set up after the Dunblane massacre, said: ``What sort of mind would put killing and children in the same game? What sort of world are we creating for our children, teaching them aggression instead of tolerance?''

Mrs Pearston said: ``The people who create these games seem to adopt a negative rather than a positive position. They have the opportunity to help children instead of producing games centring on violence.''

The computer game has been withdrawn from the shelves in libraries and other outlets. Home Secretary Michael Howard, backed by Scottish Secretary Mr Forsyth, have condemned the game.

Mr Howard has warned that uncertificated games break the law and anyone supplying them could face up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine. The penalty for selling the games to a young person is six months' jail and/or a fine of #5000.