South Scotland

Jim Clark Rally crash deaths: Family tributes to victims

Rally victims Image copyright Other
Image caption John Leonard Stern, left, and Iain John Provan died in the crash along with Elizabeth Allan

The families of two of the people killed at a rally in the Borders have paid tribute to their relatives.

Iain John Provan, 64, and Elizabeth Allan, 63, both of Barrhead, and John Leonard Stern, 71, of Bearsden, died in the crash on Saturday.

Mr Stern's family said his death was "tragic" but he had "died watching the sport that he loved".

Relatives of Mr Provan thanked everyone who had tried to assist him after the "tragic incident".

A statement from Mr Stern's family said: "Len was a special uncle who was well-loved by the family.

"His death is really tragic but he died watching the sport that he loved.

"Our thoughts are with the driver and his family during this difficult time."

Mr Provan's family also released a short statement.

"The family would like to thank race officials, members of the public and the emergency services for their assistance following yesterday's tragic incident," it said.

"We would also like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and ask that our privacy be respected at this very difficult time."

Meanwhile, police are seeking video footage from members of the public after the fatal crash.

They have appealed for witnesses to come forward, especially anyone with "video footage or photographs".

The fatal accident took place at about 16:00 on Saturday at Little Swinton, near Coldstream.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Three people were killed in the crash at the Jim Clark Rally in the Borders at the weekend

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland visited the crash site on Monday and Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill received a briefing from police officers.

Mr MacAskill said he would make a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday to update MSPs on the investigation into the crashes.

He added: "I'll be making clear to parliament the discussions that we have had with the police and with Scottish Borders Council and our current reflections.

"But obviously there is police investigation ongoing and it is for the Crown to decide what further action could be taken, including the potential of a fatal accident inquiry."

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Media captionMr MacAskill said he would make a statement to MSPs about the rally crash

Witness Tommy Tait, from East Lothian, told the BBC he was standing next to the three people who died. He claimed they had been moved to that location by the race marshals.

"The place we were standing at, we got told to shift by the marshals because it wasn't safe," he said.

"We went across to where they told us to go and we turned around and said to them 'if we stand there, there's more chance of us getting hurt'.

"And about seven cars in that's when the incident happened. The car came down over the bridge and lost control."

Another witness, Colin Gracey, who has watched the rally for years from the same spot close to where the crash happened, said the experience was "traumatic".

The 46-year-old teacher lives in nearby Swinton and was there with his family, including three children.

He said: "We went down there, as we've been doing for about 17 years, to the same place we watch it from just up from the bridge.

"I think it was the seventh car coming through and it just veered very sharply after taking the bridge and it went right into the field hitting the people who were stood there.

"It was shocking."

He described the crash as "like a bowling ball hitting skittles".

'Co-operating fully'

Two hours before the fatal crash another car in the rally left the road and hit five people, one woman and four men, near Crosshall Farm on the Eccles stage of the competition.

Three of the men were taken to Borders General Hospital but one was then moved to an intensive care unit in Edinburgh.

The remaining two spectators were treated for minor injuries.

In a statement following the crash, rally organisers said: "Our thoughts are especially with those who have lost family members and to the families of the injured spectators.

"All members of the organising team are in shock and are co-operating fully with Police Scotland to establish the facts."

The rally is named after Scottish Formula One driver Jim Clark, who grew up in the area and was killed in a motor racing accident in Hockenheim, Germany, in 1968.

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