Scotland

Tunisia attack: Prayers at Cumbernauld church for couple

  • 29 June 2015
  • From the section Scotland
Jim and Ann McQuire Image copyright Other
Image caption Jim and Ann McQuire had made a late booking for their holiday in Tunisia

Prayers have been said at a Scottish church for a couple feared killed in the terror attack in Tunisia.

The congregation at Abronhill Parish Church in Cumbernauld were told that Jim and Ann McQuire were thought to have died in the shooting in Sousse.

Another couple, Billy and Lisa Graham, from Perth, are also among those missing.

It is thought that more than 30 of the 38 holidaymakers killed in the beach massacre were British.

A Tunisian student linked to Islamic State (IS) extremists carried out the gun attack in Sousse.

Tunisia's PM Habib Essid has said the majority of the dead were British.

Late booking

Mr and Mrs McQuire had only booked their holiday a fortnight before leaving.

The couple, from Cumbernauld, were heavily involved with the Church of Scotland at Abronhill.

Relatives of the couple told the local minister that the authorities were "99.9% sure" Mr and Mrs McQuire were dead, although official Foreign Office confirmation had not been received.

The McQuires had recently retired and had been talking about their Tunisian holiday when they attended church on the Sunday before they left.

Mr McQuire - a captain with the Boys Brigade - had been due to attend a Royal Garden Party at Edinburgh on his return.

Fellow officer and friend of 40-years Andrew Eadie was preparing to attend the event with him.

He said: "I can't make sense of it, I just can't understand the logic of what they have done.

"I understand that there are freedom fighters and there's people trying to make a point but there must be other ways than doing what they've done."

Sunday service

Prayers for the couple were said at the regular Sunday morning service, which was attended by relatives and friends.

Minister Joyce Keyes said: "I don't think I can make any sense of it at all. My feeling is of numbness.

"They were regular holiday goers since their retirement and were really looking forward to it."

The couple have a son, Stuart, who lives in the town, and Mr McQuire has two sisters who are both members of the congregation.

Holly Graham, from Perth, has said she is desperately worried about her parents Billy and Lisa, but has struggled to find out what is happening from tour operator Thomson or the Foreign Office.

The couple had been staying at one of the hotels attacked in Sousse.

Image copyright Other
Image caption Billy and Lisa Graham were staying at the Imperial Hotel in Sousse

She said: "Thomson are like they're just reading off a piece of paper. I've had friends phoning on my behalf of me because you can imagine I'm a little bit of an emotional wreck at the moment.

"They said the same - it's like they're just reading off a piece of paper that they've been given to tell people.

"Foreign Office - they just tell you that they've got no information, they'll phone you when they do. They didn't even tell you what they're doing to try to find people."

'Prepare ourselves'

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has chaired a further Scottish government resilience (SGORR) meeting following the terrorist attack in Sousse.

Ms Sturgeon said: "I would like to offer my heartfelt sympathies to everyone who may have lost a loved one in this attack. We are prepared for the possibility that there may be Scottish victims among those who have lost their lives, but we have not yet received official confirmation of this.

"The threat level for the UK remains at severe and counter terrorism measures are in place to respond to this. The advice from Police Scotland is to stay vigilant and alert."

The Foreign Office have not named any of the victims of the shooting, although they have confirmed they believe at least 15 of them are British.

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