SCOTLAND saluted the victims of Friday night's helicopter tragedy with a special service at Glasgow Cathedral in which children lit candles in memory of those who had died.

Four young girls and a boy were guided up to communion table at the front of St Mungo's Cathedral yesterday to make the poignant gesture before a 500 strong congregation.

The eight white candles burned for the rest of the hour-long ceremony as a sad reminder of each of the people who died, including pilot David Traill, 51, and Police Constables Kirsty Nelis, 36, and Tony Collins, 43, and also Gary Arthur, 48, from the Paisley area.

Yesterday morning, church-goers and public figures filled the grand medieval Church of Scotland building to show their support for the victims.

Many of those present knew those who had died or been injured, and some were in tears.

Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister, Sir Stephen House, the chief constable of Police Scotland and Kenny MacAskill, the Justice Secretary, were among the congregation as were leading members of the fire brigade and ambulance service.

They included Pat O'Meara, head of control at the Scottish Ambulance Service, who was on duty on Friday night.

Margaret Curran, the shadow Scottish secretary, and Anas Sarwar, Labour MP, and Sandra White, SNP MSP, were among the politicians who attended, as were Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, and Sadie Docherty, Glasgow's Lord Provost.

The candles were lit by the five of the Cathedral's Sunday school children Alice Baxendale, 13, Fiona Baxendale, 10, Grace Clarkson, 10, Stanley Robertson, five, and Florence Robertson four. They were accompanied to the front of the church by Catherine Whitley, the minister's wife.

The Rev Dr Laurence Whitley, minister of Glasgow Cathedral, led prayers supported by the Rev Ada MacLeod, assistant minister.

Dr Whitley told the congregation in times of such tragedies it was natural to look for an explanation for what had happened and it was unsettling when none was apparent. He also spoke of his experiences visiting the injured, in hospital, in the early hours of Saturday morning and praised the sense of solidarity among Glaswegians and their empathy for the victims.

"I sat in the wee small hours beside the injured and their families just two or three hours after the tragedy," he said. "All we found we could do was look at each other and shrug. What was there to know or understand about that heart-wrenching event that had happened?"

He added: "We do not end this day in despair, but we stand defiant. Our great and vibrant and irrepressible city shall stand together with our suffering ones and hand in hand go forward into the light, into the light."

Both Ms Sturgeon and Mr MacAskill gave readings from the scriptures, and prayers were also said for the emergency service crews working to rescue and recover people from the stricken building.

"Compassionate God, beneath the shadow of the cloud of tragedy that has enveloped our city we turn to you, knowing we are heard," said Ms MacLeod in prayer. "At a time when happy relaxation suddenly became anguish and sorrow, hear us as we pray for those carrying the great burden of injury and loss. May they know that both city and nation are one with them in their distress, as one caring family.

"We ask strength and blessing in especial upon those, who, holding nothing back, were first responders: ambulance personnel, fire, and police services, not forgetting the willing helpers among fellow citizens who refused to pass by. As all struggle to cope with stresses beyond imagining, lay your steadying hand upon them."

The music was solemn with the choir performing I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes by Philip Ledger, Lux Aeterna (Nimrod) by Edward Elgar and Justorum Animae by Charles Villiers Stanford.

After the service Ms Sturgeon said: "It was a very moving service, a very poignant service. I think it was important the service took place this morning.

"Everybody in Glasgow wants to do something to let those who've been most directly affected by this tragedy know we're thinking of them and that although we can't begin to imagine the grief and loss that they're suffering, they're not alone."

Meanwhile, prayers for the victims of the tragedy were said also during Mass at St Andrew's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Glasgow.

Speaking before his service, Father Joseph Walsh said: "This is a terrible tragedy that has affected so many families and has stunned and shocked this city of Glasgow.

"May God grant his comfort to the bereaved and grant his healing to all those who have suffered injuries. Let us give thanks to God for the work of the emergency service and the medical staff at Glasgow's hospitals.

"We keep all those affected in our prayers. All those bereaved, the injured and their families; we pray for them with our Mass."

Also yesterday, Scotland's senior Jewish minister Rabbi Moshe Rubin led the community in a special service of prayers for the victims of the crash.

Speaking at the service, held in Giffnock Synagogue, Rabbi Rubin said: "We aren't trained for such terrible events as this at Rabbinical College. When I saw the headlines I was shocked.

"When we hear of something happening on our doorstep, it's like our family has been hurt. This accident is about people living in Glasgow of all religions. We, as a community have a responsibility to do all we can for our fellow Glaswegians."

It is currently the festival of Hanukkah for the Jewish community. It is a festival of celebration and a time when certain aspects of mourning are curtailed. Candles are lit every night. Mr Rubin added: "We hope and pray that all of the families of those who have lost their lives and been injured find a candle of hope of their own to help them through this sad time."