Dunblane reflects 20 years after school shooting

Flowers outside Dunblane Primary School a day after the shooting in 1996 Image copyright PA
Image caption Flowers outside Dunblane Primary School a day after the shooting in 1996

Victims of the Dunblane school shooting will be remembered in church services in the town, 20 years after the attack.

Teacher Gwen Mayor and 16 of her pupils were killed when Thomas Hamilton opened fire on them on 13 March 1996.

Rev Colin Renwick, who will lead tributes at Dunblane Cathedral, said there had not been a day since when those lost had not been remembered.

Ch Insp Paul Rollo said people would also "celebrate the vibrant community which had overcome" the tragedy.

The killings in the town, which is near Stirling, shocked the nation and led to the UK enforcing some of the strictest firearms legislation in the world.

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Media captionFormer head teacher Ron Taylor: "It's hugely important we help, as best we can, those who survived, and support those who lost"

Assistant Chief Constable Kate Thomson said: "Much has changed in 20 years but the shock and sadness is still felt by people throughout Scotland and further afield, including police officers who served in Central Scotland Police and elsewhere at the time, and those who have joined the service since.

"We wish to extend our sympathies to the families and friends of those who died, and those involved in the tragic events of 1996 in Dunblane, at this time of remembrance."

Rev Renwick said: "Since that day, people have appreciated the support and prayers of others throughout the world, but have also valued being allowed the space to grieve and rebuild with privacy and dignity, with as little media scrutiny as possible.

"During these various services, there will be an opportunity for those who gather to remember and to pray for continuing strength and peace."

Safer now

Monsignor Basil O'Sullivan will mark the anniversary in the Holy Family church in Dunblane.

He was parish priest at the time of the shooting and told the Scottish Catholic Observer: "As we have every year without fail, we're having an anniversary Mass.

"We pray for the injured, we pray for the bereaved and those who still suffer every day."

Survivors and relatives have also been reflecting on the impact of the shooting on their lives and on the country as a whole.

Mick North, whose five-year-old daughter Sophie was killed, said the positive legacy should not be forgotten - that people are safer from gun crime than they were 20 years ago.

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Media captionIsabel Wilson lost her five-year-old daughter Mhairi in the shootings

He said: "In many respects, the day of the forthcoming anniversary won't be especially different - any day from the last 20 years was one for memories.

"The importance of the 20th anniversary is as an occasion when others can recall and reflect on a horrific event, and also a time when those too young to remember might learn about what happened and consider its significance."

Alison Ross, sister of five-year-old victim Joanna Ross, wants people to see the positive life in Dunblane today.

She told a BBC Scotland documentary: "It needs to be remembered so that everyone's aware that we are still here, we are still getting on with our lives and we didn't just fade into the background either.

"We still had to power on and push on with our lives, and it's important that everyone knows we're doing it, and doing it well."

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