PEOPLE across East Renfrewshire fell silent yesterday as events took place to mark the 50th anniversary of the Clarkston Disaster.

A total of 22 lives were lost and more than 100 people were injured when a devastating explosion took place on October 21, 1971.

Gas leaking from a pipe caused the blast, which decimated 10 shops, led to the collapse of an overhead car park and showered a passing bus with debris.

Half a century later, people of all ages paused to join in a minute’s silence.

Barrhead News:

The poignant tribute took place at 2.50pm – the same time as the deadly blast all those years ago.

East Renfrewshire Council also organised a special service at a memorial tree in the car park at Clarkston Halls, with the families of victims, as well as survivors, invited to attend.

Some of those who gathered for the service could recall exactly where they were when the explosion ripped through a shopping area while people were going about their daily business.

Bravely, survivors spoke of their experiences, while those who perished were remembered by loved ones.

Families consoled one another as piper Iain Grant played a lament, while floral tributes were laid in memory of the 22 who died.

Joining them was East Renfrewshire’s Deputy Provost, Councillor Betty Cunningham.

She said: “The tragedy at Clarkston took the lives of 22 people and injured many more but the effect of the explosion was felt by many more besides.

“This was an opportunity to remember those lost, those who were injured and remember the lives saved by courageous local people and hard-working members of the emergency services who rushed to the scene.”