Festive Lights Back On In George Square

24 December 2014, 05:00 | Updated: 24 December 2014, 10:45

Six people killed when a bin lorry lost control in a busy shopping street will be remembered in a special Christmas Eve church service.

Student Erin McQuade and her grandparents Jack and Lorraine Sweeney, all from Dumbarton, died in the incident in Glasgow on Monday.

Primary school teacher Stephenie Tait, from Glasgow, Jacqueline Morton, also from the city, and Gillian Ewing from Edinburgh were also killed when the council truck mounted the pavement before crashing into the side of a hotel on George Square.

An investigation is under way in to what caused the vehicle to career off the road, with witnesses suggesting the driver may have become ill at the wheel.

Archbishop of Glasgow Philip Tartaglia will lead a mass at St Andrew's Cathedral at 1pm for everyone affected by the tragedy which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today had left the city with a broken heart.

A £60,000 council fund for the victims' families will open for public donations. They can be made by calling 0141 287 7878 and paying by debit or credit card, or at any bank using Sort Code 834400 and Account Number 10809775.

Lines will be open Monday-Friday 8am-8pm but will be closed for the public holidays over Christmas and New Year. It will close on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, reopening on 27 December and closing again for Jan 1 and 2.

Anyone in need of support can call the dedicated helpline 0141 287 0999.

The Christmas lights in George Square, extinguished in the aftermath of the crash, are being switched back on as the city attempts to return to normal.

The winter carnival rides and ice rink will not reopen until noon on Boxing Day.

Ms Sturgeon described Glasgow as a "city with a broken heart'' but said: "This city will pull together to support those who have been affected, not just in the days ahead but in the weeks and months to come.''

Reverend Alastair Duncan, who led a prayer service at St George's Tron Parish Church today, said: "It is close to Christmas and Christmas will go on for people, they will celebrate with their families.

"But I imagine that will be tempered by the knowledge that for some families not just this Christmas but many Christmases to come will never be the same again.''

A further 10 people were injured when the bin lorry veered out of control outside the Gallery of Modern Art at around 2.30pm.

It hit a pedestrian before continuing up Queen Street and hitting several others, only coming to a halt when it crashed in to the side of Millennium Hotel in George Square.

Six people including the driver were still receiving treatment in hospital today, with one patient in a critical condition.

Hundreds of floral tributes have been laid by members of the public in Royal Exchange Square near where the lorry went out of control.

Candles, cards and a poem hailing the "spirit of Glasgow'' have also been placed there.

Mr Sweeney, 68, was a former president of Bramalea Celtic supporters club in Canada. The club put a statement online expressing "great shock and sadness'' about his death along with his wife Lorraine, 69, and 18-year-old Erin.

Miss McQuade was a first year student of English Literature at Glasgow University and worked at Cameron House Hotel on the banks of Loch Lomond, where she was described as "one of our brightest and dedicated members of housekeeping staff''.

Ms Tait, 29, was a primary school teacher at St Philomena's Primary in Glasgow, where head teacher Catherine Gallagher said the "entire school community is deeply saddened by this tragic news''.

She added: "Stephenie was an excellent young teacher, dedicated to the children. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this time.''

Ms Tait had studied at Glasgow University, whose Principal and Vice Chancellor Professor Anton Muscatelli said it was "deeply saddened'' to learn of the death of one of its current students and a graduate.

He said: "This is an awful time for those concerned and for the wider University family.''

Yesterday's tragedy struck just over 12 months after the Clutha Bar helicopter crash in Glasgow, which claimed the lives of 10 people when a police helicopter crashed on to the roof of a crowded pub last November.

As the names of the George Square victims were released today the Queen sent a message of condolence to the city.

She said: "Our thoughts and prayers go to the families of those who have lost loved ones and to those who have been injured.

"This sad event is made even more difficult as it comes at Christmas time. I send my condolences to all the people of Glasgow.''