THE church minister who led tributes and services following the Clutha and bin lorry tragedies in Glasgow has died.

The funeral of Rev Dr Laurence Whitley took place at Glasgow Cathedral on Monday afternoon, where he was minister for ten years.

Rev Whitley served at the Cathedral until his retirement last year.

He died last week, aged 69.

Following the Clutha helicopter crash, Rev Whitley said: “At such times it is difficult to find hope, but hope we must, so that nothing denies the triumph of the human spirit.

“We do not end this day in pain and loss. We stand defiant, and in our great and vibrant and irrepressible city we stand hand-in-hand to go forward into the light.”

Rev Whitley was also the Police chaplain and was at the scene of both events to support emergency service workers.

Lifelong friend and fellow church minister, the very Rev Prof Sir Iain Torrance, paid tribute to Rev Whitley.

He said: “He was the most gifted and inspirational user of language in worship and one of our most imaginative and creative and gentle ministers.

“It was he who aptly summed up the grief of the City of Glasgow after the disasters at the Clutha Vaults bar and with the incident on Queen Street.”

He was honoured in Glasgow in recognition for his service.

The City of Glasgow recognised Dr Whitley’s outstanding service in 2014 when then Lord Provost, Sadie Docherty, presented him with the one of the city’s highest accolades, the Loving Cup.

The award is reserved for a person or group who has brought distinction or honour to Glasgow.

Glasgow Caledonian University awarded Dr Whitley an honorary degree in 2015 for his “quiet leadership day to day in his parish and to the wider city at times of high tension”.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies said: “Dr Laurence Whitley was an exceptionally kind and supportive man with a sparkling intellect and infinite capacity for empathy.

“He absolutely dedicated himself to serving others whether in his parish or not and from all walks of life across our City of Glasgow.”

Rev Whitley had previously served parishes in Dundee, Busby and Montrose, before moving to take charge as minister at Glasgow Cathedral in 2007.

Dr Whitley is survived by his wife Catherine, children Edward and Hilary, his brother Michael and sisters Elizabeth and Mary.