Glasgow & West Scotland

New bar at Clutha opens after helicopter crash

Official opening Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The new bar has been created in the former smoking area and beer garden of the Clutha

A new bar has opened at the Clutha pub in Glasgow more than a year and a half after a police helicopter crashed into its roof.

Ten people died when the aircraft came down on the city centre venue on a busy Friday night in November 2013.

Families of the victims, survivors and members of the emergency services who dealt with the crash were invited to the pub's relaunch.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attended the opening ceremony.

The Clutha had been shut since the night of the tragedy, with building work carried out to refurbish the property.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The first minister helped to serve the first beer in the new bar
Image copyright PA
Image caption The pub had been closed since the crash in November 2013

The interior of the old pub remains sealed off but a new bar has been erected in the former smoking area.

The exterior walls have been refurbished and are now covered with a mural depicting well-known faces including Billy Connelly, Spike Milligan and Stan Laurel.

A private function held for invited guests with the venue then later fully reopened to the public.

Owner Alan Crossan told BBC Scotland: "What we are trying to do is bring the Clutha back to Glasgow and give it back to the Glasgow people.

"It was the people who made the Clutha. Not the building or anything like that. It was the people - the musicians, the staff, the punters."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Work has been carried out to refurbish the venue

The helicopter crash on 29 November 2013 claimed the lives of seven customers. They were John McGarrigle, Mark O'Prey, Gary Arthur, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins, Samuel McGhee and Joe Cusker.

The police helicopter crew who were killed were pilot David Traill, PC Tony Collins and PC Kirsty Nelis.

A draft report from crash investigators into the tragedy has been completed, with a final public document still to be be published.

Speaking as she joined relatives of the dead, survivors and members of the emergency services at the venue, the first minister said: "It's a night of mixed emotions.

"On the one hand it is fantastic to see this great Glasgow institution, The Clutha pub, open its doors to customers again.

"But on the other hand we will never forget what happened here that night.

"People lost their lives in that tragic accident, people sustained injuries, families had their lives changed forever, so it's a night of celebrating the fact that this pub is moving on into the future, but also remembering the people who lost their lives here."

Speaking on Radio Scotland's Newsdrive programme, Billy Coyle, from the Clutha Trust said reopening the venue would be "emotional" for all those involved.

He said: "We've been planning to get the pub opened as soon as possible and it was really short notice for tonight but everything is in place.

"It will be an emotional night but it is a way forward."

Last month Princes Charles visited the Glasgow venue with his wife the Duchess of Rothesay.

He signed a ukulele to be auctioned to raise funds for the Clutha Trust, a charity working to support young people in the aftermath of the crash.

Image caption The police helicopter crashed on to the Clutha bar on 29 November 2013, killing 10 people
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Charles and Camilla admired the mural outside the Clutha bar on a visit to the venue last month

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