May 12 2015: 11 years after explosion, families still feel the pain

The Evening Times, May 12 2015

THE family of Stockline victim Annette Doyle remembered her as the “life and soul of the party”.

They gathered yesterday on the 11th anniversary of the explosion, along with family and friends of the other eight victims.

Annette was just 34 when she died following the collapse of the four-storey plant in Hopehill Road just after midday on May 11, 2004.

Near to the site, nine stones stand in memory of Annette, as well as Peter Ferguson, Thomas McAulay, Tracy McErlane, Ann Trench, Stewart McColl, Margaret Brownlie, Kenneth Murray and Tim Smith, who also lost their lives.

Loved ones joined politicians and community members to lay flowers and tributes at the memorial garden at midday yesterday. Father Euan Marley, of St Columba’s Church, read a passage and paid tribute to the dead as well as survivors.

Labour politicians, local councillor Martin McElroy and MSP Patricia Ferguson were among those paying their respects.

Annette’s family, including her parents Joe and Rosemary, said they took comfort in meeting up with other people affected and enjoyed laying fresh flowers at her memorial stone.

Mr Doyle, from the north of Glasgow, said they still felt the huge silence in their home and missed Annette every day.

He said: “It’s the same every morning, it doesn’t matter how long it’s been. She was living at home at the time so we always heard her, she was always lively. Our daughter was very cheery. She loved singing, she was full of song.

“We’ve got an empty house.

It doesn’t make a difference with time – 25 years or one year, it will still be the same.”

Mr Doyle said some of the victims’ relatives had grown close because of what they had been through.

Annette’s sister Angela added: “She was the life and soul of the party.”

The group then went to the Maryhill Central Halls for food and refreshments.

A build-up of leaking gas from corroded underground pipes was to blame for the blast, which provoked a countrywide pipe replacement programme.

As we reported yesterday, the community has won a fight to bring the ownership of the garden into the hands of a trust. Family members and locals will now be able to develop it and keep it maintained for the future.

The garden was originally set up by ICL Plastics Ltd three years after the disaster.

Gary Gentles, community development manager at Maryhill Central Halls, said: “We want to hear what people would like to see in the garden and we’ll go from there.

“We want it to be a place for the people of Maryhill.”

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