IN the Clutha Bar, on the banks of the Clyde, owner Alan Crossan is managing a very long to-do list.

The pub’s charity trust is helping to organise the city’s annual festive celebrations, lining up bands for the music stage. The team is also planning a Christmas Day dinner for local families struggling to cope with the cost-of-living crisis.

Beneath the hum of every-day activity, staff and customers are preparing to mark the 10th anniversary of the darkest night in the pub’s history.

On November 29, 2013, just after 10pm, a police helicopter heading back to base dropped out of the sky and crashed through the roof of the Clutha, killing 10 people and injuring many more.

Glasgow Times: The tragedy made headlines around the world, so interest in the landmark anniversary is intense, says Alan.

 “There is a lot happening at the moment, and of course, there have been lots of calls about the anniversary,” he explains.

“To be honest, the feelings are the same every year, whether it’s 10, or nine, or five or six…”

He pauses: “Ten years seems like a very long time, but it’s all so close, somehow. The images are still there, of what happened that night. They always will be.”

Glasgow Times: Wreckage of the helicopter being lifted out of the pubWreckage of the helicopter being lifted out of the pub (Image: Newsquest)

Alan was not in the pub the night of the crash, as he was at home in Crossmyloof recovering from a heart attack. He was on the scene in minutes, however, after his manager called to tell him what had happened. He recalls staring in shock at the scene unfolding around him, describing it as “like something out of a film.”

The popular pub had been packed with customers watching ska group Esperanza perform when the helicopter crashed into its roof.

PC Kirsty Nelis, 36, PC Tony Collins, 43, and pilot David Traill, 51, who were all on board, were killed. Pub-goers Gary Arthur, 48, Samuel McGhee, 56, Colin Gibson, 33, Robert Jenkins, 61, Mark O'Prey, 44, and John McGarrigle, 57, also died at the scene. Joe Cusker, 59, died in hospital 13 days later.

Glasgow Times: David Traill, PC Kirsty Nelis, PC Tony Collins, Gary Arthur; Samuel McGhee, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins, Mark O'Prey, John McGarrigle, Joe Cusker David Traill, PC Kirsty Nelis, PC Tony Collins, Gary Arthur; Samuel McGhee, Colin Gibson, Robert Jenkins, Mark O'Prey, John McGarrigle, Joe Cusker (Image: Newsquest)

As details emerged through the night and over the coming days, Alan and his staff were inundated with offers of support.

Brewery Tennent's, who supplied the Clutha, paid the staff’s wages until the pub reopened, and Alan recalls one of his neighbours handing him in four bags of shopping, while other people had been “pushing biscuits” through the fence around the pub for the emergency crews working at the crash site.

“We got so much support from local people, and we took a lot of strength from that,” he recalls. “That kindness and love we received in the days and weeks and years since – well, we wanted to pass that on. People need help at the moment. We can help them.”

A few weeks after the accident, three young boys broke into the bar and stole charity cans and some half-bottles of alcohol.

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“They were just kids, and they didn’t really know why it was wrong, so afterwards, we were thinking about why they would do something like this,” says Alan. “And the reason is, they had no direction in their lives, no pathways. That’s where the Clutha Trust came in.”

Glasgow Times:

The charity, set up in the aftermath of the crash, helps disadvantaged young people get involved in music and the arts and runs a community choir. This year, it is helping to organise Winterfest.

“We’re sorting out the music for George Square, and we’re trying to raise £50,000 towards our Power Over Poverty initiative, which helps families with their electricity and gas bills,” says Alan.

“We’re hoping to help at least 500 families. Organisers M&N Events are going to donate £1 per skater, which is amazing.”

He adds: “We’re also hosting Christmas dinner in the pub for anyone who is lonely, or families who can’t afford dinner for the kids, and there are a few places left if people want to email me on to arrange.

“We’re really grateful to Dandara Living for their support in helping us to do this.”

On November 29, Clutha staff and customers will gather to remember those who lost their lives.

“That night, we’ll do what we always do on the anniversary – get together, have a drink, talk, there will be music and the Clutha Choir is going to perform,” says Alan.

“At 22 minutes past 10, we’ll have a minute’s silence. Some people will come, others don’t want to get involved and that’s absolutely fine. We’ll be there, we just hope everyone is okay.”