Concert Tribute To Clutha Victims

Hundreds of people attended a benefit concert in Glasgow last night as part of plans to commemorate those who died almost a year ago in the Clutha helicopter crash.

Ten people lost their lives and many more were injured when the police helicopter crashed on to the roof of the Clutha pub on November 29 last year.

The special event at the city's Barrowlands venue launched the Clutha Trust, which aims to help disadvantaged young people.

Performers include Sandi Thom, Carly Connor, the Mickey 9s and Scheme Party.

Ska band Bombskare is also on the line-up, along with Girobabies and Horse.

Scott McCafferty, of Bombskare, said they were friends of Esperanza, who were playing in the Clutha on the night of the tragedy.

He said: "The concert is a great idea, to raise money for the Clutha Trust which is hopefully going to do a lot of good for young musicians so we're well up for that. Anything that can promote that is a good thing for us, we're happy to be involved in that.''

He added:  "It's important to remember what happened. It's important to remember those who were lost. It's very hard to try and make sense of something that's as tragic as that.''

The city is also set to mark one year on from the tragedy and remember those who perished with a service at Glasgow Cathedral tomorrow, the actual anniversary.

The same day, police officers will face firefighters in a commemorative charity ice hockey match at Braehead Arena.

November 29 was, for a time, a Friday night like any other at the Stockwell Street bar.

Ska band Esperanza was playing and more than 100 people had packed into the popular Clydeside bar to see them play.

Then, at about 10.25pm, disaster struck. The Police Scotland helicopter which had been flying overhead dropped "like a stone'' through the single-storey building after both engines failed.

Pilot David Traill and his passengers, police officers Kirsty Nelis and Tony Collins, lost their lives.

Those killed in the pub were John McGarrigle, Mark O'Prey, Gary Arthur, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins and Samuel McGhee. Some 32 people were taken initially to hospitals across the city.

Joe Cusker was pulled from the wreckage alive but later died in hospital.

Pub owner Alan Crossan described the events of last year as "shocking'' and said he still struggles to get his head around the reality of what happened.

He said it was the response of the people of Glasgow to the incident which prompted him to establish a trust for disadvantaged children and young people by enabling them to become involved in the arts, and music in particular.

"The reaction was incredible and that's why we started the Clutha Trust,'' he said.

Describing the Clutha as "a pub of music'', he told how musicians have managed to raise over #500,000 since the crash to help the families touched by the tragedy.

Establishing the trust was a way of channelling that positive energy, he said.

Free entry to tonight's concert was offered to members of emergency services as a "thank you''.

"The emergency services have been brilliant,'' Mr Crossan said.

He went on: "I'm going to continue with the Clutha Trust and we'll always remember these people (who lost their lives).

"Hopefully we can make the charity as big as we can and that will be remembered as a legacy to the people who died. That may be a memorial in itself.''

The inquiry into the disaster has reportedly been completed, with a draft report of the findings by air accident investigators due to be issued in the new year.

But this weekend's events will focus on those who died and the loved ones they left behind.

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