A SPECIAL service will take place to mark the 50th anniversary of one of East Renfrewshire's darkest days.

A total of 22 people died and more than 100 others were injured in the Clarkston Disaster on Thursday, October 21, 1971.

A gas blast flattened a row of shops and impacted on a passing bus just before 3pm that day.

It was described as the worst peace-time explosion in Scotland. An inquiry later found no-one was to blame.

East Renfrewshire Council will mark the 50th anniversary with a service at the memorial tree in the car park at Clarkston Halls, with survivors and the families of victims invited to attend.

There will also be a minute’s silence held across East Renfrewshire at 2.50pm on the anniversary – the time the explosion took place.

Council chiefs are encouraging everyone who can to take part in this silent moment of remembrance.

East Renfrewshire’s Deputy Provost, Councillor Betty Cunningham, said: “October 21, 1971, was a dark day for the people of Clarkston and beyond.

"Many lives were lost and countless more were changed forever, so it is extremely important that the day is marked and we remember those who were lost.

"The commemoration at the memorial tree will give the families of victims and the survivors an opportunity to pay their respects and the minute’s silence will allow everyone to stop in a moment of reflection.”

Also on the day, Greenbank Parish Church, St Aidan’s Scottish Episcopal Church, St Joseph’s RC Church and Willamwood Parish Church will be open to anyone for private prayer and reflection from 2pm until 4pm and then from 6pm until 7pm.

Any survivors or relatives of one of the victims who would like more information about events to mark the 50th anniversary is asked to send an email to communications@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk.