South East Wales

Norway: Condolence book at Cardiff Norwegian Church

Flowers and messages of sympathy have been left at Cardiff's Norwegian Church after the Norway massacre and bombing.

The Queen and Prime Minister David Cameron sent their sympathies after a bomb in Oslo killed seven and a gunman shot 85 at an island youth camp.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones also wrote to the Norwegian authorities to voice his "horror" and send the sympathies of the people of Wales.

The church has opened a condolence book, and its flag is at half-mast.

The Welsh-Norwegian Society will discuss with the church how they can respond further to the tragedy.

The flowers have been put on display, and Norwegian flags and ribbons have also been put out on a table in the church's Grieg room.

Tony Burnell, the Norwegian Church officer, said: "I arrived at work this morning and the first thing I did was put the flag at half-mast.

"We have had a couple of members of the public giving their condolences and some have left flowers. We also have condolences on our Facebook page.

"The Welsh-Norwegian Society still have a close relationship with us and I've been on the phone to them."

"We get about 20,000 visitors every month so I knew we would get a lot of visitors this morning who would want to pay their respects... for what's been a terrible series of atrocities."

One visitor who signed the book of condolences, Lyn McDonald, of Pontcanna, Cardiff, said she felt "complete shock and sadness" at "a totally unnecessary killing".

'Waste of life'

She called it a waste of life, particularly among young people who could be future leaders.

The church is a distinctive landmark which was built in the docklands in 1868, and later reconstructed near the Welsh assembly in Cardiff Bay.

It was re-opened by Princess Martha Louise of Norway in 1992.

Image caption Rescue workers evacuate a wounded woman from the island of Utoeya

Cardiff's links with Norway developed after the growth in mining in the 19th Century, and the Welsh capital became the world's biggest coal port by World War I.

The church's website says that Cardiff became one of the first cities outside Norway to have such a place of worship.

Norwegian seamen were unable to return to their homeland during World War II when it was occupied, and up to 70,000 Scandinavians were said to have worshipped there every year.

Mr Burnell said many Welsh families retained Norwegian links. The best known was the author Roald Dahl, whose businessman father settled in Cardiff.

Cardiff is also twinned with County Hordaland in south-west Norway.

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