Emotional tributes paid as Clutha pilot laid to rest

EMOTIONAL tributes were paid to the pilot who died when his helicopter crashed into a busy Glasgow pub, as the first funeral for the victims of the Clutha tragedy took place.

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Capt David Traill's coffin was given a guard of honour
Capt David Traill's coffin was given a guard of honour

Captain David Traill, 51, was honoured by his family, friends and colleagues during a service at Glasgow University's Bute Hall on Saturday.

Around 700 people attended the ceremony where Mr Traill was described as a "hero" and as a "brave and courageous" man.

The pilot, who flew helicopters for Police Scotland and the Glasgow-based Scottish Air Ambulance, was one of the nine people who died in the crash which happened at around 10.25pm on Friday, November 29.

Among the mourners paying their respect at the service were Chief Constable Sir Stephen House, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson.

Representatives from the RAF and emergency services lined the entrance to the hall to honour the coffin.

Mr Traill's fiancee Lucy Thomas, 41, said he was "the best thing that ever happened to me".

During a tribute from Ms Thomas, which was read out by university chaplain Rev Stuart MacQuarrie, she explained how the couple met on a blind date in Lochwinnoch four years ago.

She added: "He told me he loved me that day. He brought me breakfast in bed every day and told me he was the luckiest man alive ."

The funerals of other victims of the Clutha tragedy are to take place this week.

Mark O'Prey's funeral will be at St Bride's Church, East Kilbride today, while Gary Arthur will be laid to rest in Paisley.

Tomorrow the funeral of PC Tony Collins, will take place on Arran, while poet John McGarrigle's funeral will take place in Castlemilk on the same day.

PC Kirsty Nelis's funeral will take place at St Andrew's Cathedral, near the Clutha, on Wednesday, while Colin Gibson will be laid to rest at Neilston Parish Church on Thursday.

An investigation into the cause of the crash is under way.

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