Family’s bid to clear Lockerbie bomber’s name rejected

The Court of Criminal Appeal in Scotland have upheld Abdelbasset Al Megrahi's conviction over the bombing.

Bombing: Lockerbie conviction upheld. AAIB / Peter Macdiarmid / Pool via AAIB / Getty Images
Bombing: Lockerbie conviction upheld.

The family of Abdelbasset Al Megrahi said they are “heartbroken” after their appeal against his conviction for the Lockerbie bombing was rejected. 

The bombing of Pan Am flight 103, travelling from London to New York on December 21, 1988, killed 270 people in Britain’s largest terrorist atrocity.

Former Libyan intelligence officer Megrahi, who was found guilty in 2001 of mass murder and jailed for life with a minimum term of 27 years, was the only person convicted of the attack.

He died in 2012 after being released from prison on compassionate grounds while terminally ill.

His family lodged an appeal after the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) referred the case to the High Court last March, ruling that a possible miscarriage of justice may have occurred.

However, the Court of Criminal Appeal in Scotland has now upheld the verdict of the trial court and rejected both grounds of the appeal.

The bomber’s son Ali Al-Megrahi said his family were left heartbroken by the decision.

In a statement issued by the family’s lawyer Aamer Anwar, he maintained his father’s innocence and said he was determined to fulfil the promise he made to clear his name.

The Megrahi family now intend to appeal to the UK Supreme Court and an application will be lodged within 14 days.

In a statement, the Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC said: “For 32 years the families of the 270 people murdered on the night of 21 December 1988 have shown dignity in the face of the loss they have suffered. Our thoughts are with them again today.

“The bombing of Pan Am 103 is, to this day, the deadliest terrorist attack on UK soil and the largest homicide case Scotland’s prosecutors have ever encountered in terms of scale and of complexity.

“The evidence gathered by Scottish, US and international law enforcement agencies has again been tested in the Appeal Court; and the conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi stands.

“After Megrahi was convicted in 2001 my predecessor as Lord Advocate, Lord Boyd of Duncansby, confirmed to the Scottish Parliament that the investigation into the involvement of others in this terrible crime would continue. I reiterate that commitment today.

“For almost 20 years since that date Scottish police and prosecutors have continued the search for evidence. This work will continue; and there remain suspects under active investigation.”

Megrahi’s first appeal against his conviction was refused by the High Court in 2002 and was referred back five years later following an SCCRC review.

He abandoned this second appeal in 2009, shortly before his release from prison on compassionate grounds while terminally ill with cancer.

He returned to Libya and died in 2012.

Key dates in the three decades since the Lockerbie bombing


December 21: Pan Am flight 103 explodes over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing 270 people – 259 on board and 11 on the ground.


January 31: Following a trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is found guilty of mass murder and jailed for life.


August 19: Libya accepts blame for the Lockerbie bombing and agrees to compensate victims’ families.


March: Then prime minister Tony Blair offers Colonel Muammar Gaddafi “the hand of friendship” following talks with the Libyan leader in a tent outside Tripoli.

The UK and Libya go on to sign a memorandum of understanding, with a commitment to negotiate a prisoner transfer agreement (PTA).


June: The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) recommends Megrahi is granted a second appeal against his conviction after the first, in 2002, was refused.

December 19: It is revealed the UK Government has decided not to exclude Megrahi from the PTA.


September: Megrahi is diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer.


May 5: The Libyan government submits an application to the Scottish Government for Megrahi’s transfer under the PTA, followed by an application for release on compassionate grounds.

August 20: Then Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill announces Megrahi is to be returned to his home country on compassionate grounds and he is freed from Greenock prison and taken to Glasgow Airport for a flight to Libya.

August 21: The UK and the US condemn the “hero’s welcome” given to Megrahi as he arrives in Tripoli to cheering crowds.

September 5: Then UK justice secretary Jack Straw acknowledges the prospect of trade and oil deals with Libya was “a very big part” of his decision to include Megrahi in the PTA.


May 20: Megrahi dies at home in Tripoli aged 60.


June 5: Six members of Megrahi’s family join forces with 24 British relatives of those who died in the atrocity to seek another appeal against his conviction in the Scottish courts.

December 20: Scotland’s top prosecutor Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland reaffirms Megrahi’s guilt and pledges to track down his accomplices.


July 3: Scottish judges rule relatives of the victims of the bombing should not be allowed to pursue an appeal on Megrahi’s behalf.

October 15: Scottish prosecutors announce they want two Libyans they have identified as suspects to be interviewed by police.


July 4: Megrahi’s family lodges a new bid to appeal against his conviction, five years after his death.


May 3: The SCCRC says a full review of Megrahi’s case will be carried out to decide whether a fresh appeal against conviction can be made.

November 21: A police investigation finds no evidence of criminality in relation to the handling of the Lockerbie investigation and prosecution.


March 21: The Crown Office reportedly questioned retired Stasi agents over the Lockerbie bombing, examining the possible role of the East German intelligence service in the 1988 bombing.


March 11: The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission rules a fresh appeal is to be allowed, and refers the case to the High Court of Justiciary.

June 3: The appeal against the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi is formally lodged at the High Court.

Nov 19: A crowdfunder is launched to help pay for the appeal.

Nov 24: The third appeal begins at the High Court in Edinburgh, sitting as the Court of Appeal, and lasts three days.

Dec 21: The US charges a “third conspirator” in connection with the Lockerbie bombing, on the 32nd anniversary of the atrocity.


January 15: Judges reject both grounds of appeal, meaning Megrahi’s conviction stands.

Duke of Edinburgh laid to rest after family mourns at funeral

Prince Philip's final farewell took place in St George’s Chapel and a national minute’s silence was held at 3pm.

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The nation fell silent in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh as his funeral marking a life of service, devotion and duty began.

The Queen and her family gathered to say farewell to Philip, who died peacefully just over a week ago at Windsor Castle and was hailed as the “grandfather” of the country by his son the Duke of York.

Covid-19 regulations reduced the scope of the service with public elements cancelled, mourners reduced from around 800 to just 30, and all guests wearing face masks and sitting apart.

As the funeral began the nation came to a halt to observe a minute’s silence in memory of the duke who died a few months short of his 100th birthday.

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Queen Elizabeth II takes her seat during the funeral of Prince Philip.

The 105th Regiment Royal Artillery conducted ceremonial gunfire at Edinburgh Castle to begin and end the minute’s silence immediately before the funeral service started.

It came as part of nine locations that took part in the event. The guns fired at 3pm and then again at 3.01pm.

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The Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin is carried to the purpose built Land Rover during the funeral.

The Prince of Wales and Princess Royal had led senior royals in walking behind their father’s coffin the short distance from the castle to St George’s Chapel.

Philip’s coffin was carried on a custom-built Land Rover Defender hearse designed by the duke and modified over 16 years.

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Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Peter Phillips, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Earl of Snowdon David Armstrong-Jones and Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence follow Prince Philip’s coffin.

It was followed for part of its final journey by the Queen, who travelled in a Bentley with Lady Susan Hussey, with her trusted lady-in-waiting – with both wearing facemasks.

Watching as it passed were royal mourners including the Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Wessex and her children Viscount Severn and Lady Louise Windsor.

The Duke of Sussex and Duke of Cambridge joined the procession but were separated by their cousin Peter Phillips. They were seated opposite one another in St George’s Chapel during the service, with William next to wife Kate.

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The duke’s ‘unwavering loyalty’ to the Queen will be hailed during the service.

Cutting a solitary figure at the front of the quire, nearest the altar, the Queen sat apart from her children. There was a space left beside her where her husband of 73 years the duke would have sat.

During the service the choir sang Psalm 104, set to music by William Lovelady, as had been requested by the Duke of Edinburgh. Originally composed as a cantata in three movements, it was first sung in honour of Philip’s 75th birthday.

 Philip was interred in the Royal Vault of St George’s Chapel.

His coffin was placed on a catafalque on a marble slab in the Quire and lowered into the vault by electric motor.

STV News
The FM paid tribute ahead of the funeral.

Nicola Sturgeon paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, hailing his “longstanding ties to Scotland”.

The Scottish First Minister was among the many across the country to mark a silence at 3pm.

After the funeral, Sturgeon said: “On behalf of the people of Scotland, I once again express my deepest condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and members of the royal family.

“The many tributes paid to the Duke of Edinburgh in recent days have shown the depth of his contribution to public life over more than 70 years as well as his longstanding ties to Scotland.

“Many have reflected on his distinguished wartime record, his commitment to countless charities and organisations, and his love and support for the Queen throughout their marriage.

“Today, as the Queen and the royal family mourn the death of a loved one, we take this opportunity to celebrate and honour an extraordinary life.”

Pupils at the duke’s former school paid tribute to him by laying a wreath at sea in his memory.

Gordonstoun school remembered the duke during an event at Hopeman Harbour in Moray on Saturday.

Children gathered on the school’s yacht, Ocean Spirit, which was anchored off the harbour.

A sand artist created a tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh at Aberdeen Beach ahead of the prince’s funeral.

A group of veterans also paid their respects with a guard of honour.

One veteran said: “Well, I think we’re praising a hero, because he’s been some man in his life, you know, and he’s a veteran’s man.”

The Prime Minister appeared with his head bowed and dressed in black on the steps outside his country home in Chequers on the day of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral.

Boris Johnson tweeted the photograph, saying: “In Memoriam HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1921-2021.”

Johnson observed the minute’s silence at 3pm from Chequers ahead of the funeral service, after being unable to attend due to coronavirus restrictions.

Philip’s death left the monarchy grieving in private, but they made public appearances to recognise the support and condolences received throughout the week from the nation.

Gordonstoun pupils lay wreath in tribute to Prince Philip

Young sailors lay a wreath off the coast of Hopeman Harbour, where the Duke of Edinburgh learned to sail.

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images

Young sailors at the Duke of Edinburgh’s former school in Moray have paid tribute to the former pupil on the day of his funeral.

Pupils aboard Gordonstoun’s 80ft sail training boat lay a wreath off the coast of Hopeman Harbour, where Philip first learned to sail.

On the shore, a lone student piper played while displaying the Duke of Edinburgh’s Coat of Arms on a banner.

It was presented to the exclusive boarding school’s pipe band by Her Majesty in 2019.

Gordonstoun via Gordonstoun
Prince Philip learned to sail while studying at Gordonstoun.

Lis Kaerr, principal, said: “Throughout the whole of the last week we have had the opportunity to reflect on how proud we are in shaping what was important to the duke.

“We can’t have large-scale gatherings at the moment, but to be able to have a smaller tribute to him which is still an appropriate scale is great.

“For us to put together this tribute felt like the right thing to do in these circumstances – it represents his love of the Moray Firth, Hopeman Harbour and Gordonstoun.”

Opportunities to hold official commemoration events across Scotland have been limited due to coronavirus restrictions.

Meanwhile, the 105th Regiment Royal Artillery will conduct ceremonial gunfire at Edinburgh Castle to begin and end the National Minute Silence immediately before the funeral service.

The guns will fire at 3pm and then 3.01pm.

The Scottish Government urged the public not to go to Edinburgh or any other Royal location to pay their respects, due to the risk of spreading coronavirus.

This is despite travel restrictions across the country being lifted on Friday.

There will be no opportunities for the public to lay flowers at any official location in Scotland.

‘Phenomenal progress’: Half of Scots population vaccinated

A total of 2,733,387 people have now received their first dose of coronavirus vaccine.

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Half of the population in Scotland has received the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

Half of the population in Scotland has received the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, with Nicola Sturgeon praising the programme’s “phenomenal progress”.

A total of 2,733,387 people have now received their first dose of coronavirus vaccine according to the latest Scottish Government figures, with the country’s population around 5.4 million.

It marks an increase of 11,303 from the previous day while 715,714 people have had both doses, with this figure up by 26,953 from Friday’s total.

Sturgeon, who herself received a first dose of AstraZeneca on Thursday, also paid tribute to those involved in the vaccination programme.

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Nicola Sturgeon received a first dose of AstraZeneca on Thursday.

The Scottish First Minister said: “This shows the phenomenal progress being made by Scotland’s vaccination programme.

“We have met our targets to offer first doses to all nine priority groups, those most at risk from Covid, by the middle of April and are well into the delivery of second doses to those groups.

“I want to pay a huge tribute to everyone who has contributed to the success of this programme, from the scientists and those who volunteered for clinical trials to the volunteer vaccinators and of course the 2.7 million people across Scotland who have rolled up their sleeves.”

The latest figures also show Scotland recorded two more deaths and a further 210 cases of the virus.

Just 1.2% of tests for Covid-19 came back as positive in the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, there were 109 people in hospital on Friday who had recently been confirmed as having coronavirus – down six from the previous day’s total.

However, the number of patients requiring intensive care had increased by two, to 18.

A total of 7642 people in Scotland have now died within 28 days of testing positive for the disease.

Police probe man’s death after car goes up in flames

Emergency services were alerted to the vehicle on fire in the Kilmuir Drive area of Glasgow at around 11.10am on Saturday.

© Google Maps 2020
Glasgow: Emergency services were called to Kilmuir Drive on Saturday morning.

Police have launched an investigation following the death of a man after a car went up in flames.

Emergency services were alerted to the vehicle on fire in the Kilmuir Drive area of Glasgow at around 11.10am on Saturday.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service extinguished the blaze, however a man within the car was pronounced dead at the scene.

Inquiries into the incident are ongoing.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Officers were called to a car on fire in the Kilmuir Drive area of Glasgow at around 11.10am on Saturday, April 17.

“Emergency services attended and the fire was extinguished.

“One man, who was within the vehicle, was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Police enquiries are ongoing and officers remain at the scene.”

Coronavirus: Two more deaths and 210 new cases reported

The Scottish Government also confirmed that 2,733,387 Scots have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

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Covid-19: The fight to stop the spread of the deadly virus goes on.

A further two people have died in Scotland after being diagnosed with coronavirus, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

The death toll of those who tested positive now stands at 7642, however weekly figures on suspected Covid-19 deaths recorded by National Records of Scotland suggest the most up-to-date total is now more than 10,000.

A further 210 positive cases have also been recorded in the past 24 hours.

The daily test positivity rate is 1.2%, down from the 1.4% reported on Friday when 204 cases were recorded.

Of the new cases reported on Saturday, 54 are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region, 49 are in Lanarkshire, 23 are in Grampian, and 22 are in Lothian.

The rest of the cases are spread out across six other health board areas.

The Scottish Government also confirmed that 2,733,387 Scots have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, an increase of 11,303 from the day before.

A total of 715,714 people have received their second dose, a rise of 26,953.

Female osprey lays third egg of the season at loch reserve

The bird coded NC0 laid the latest egg at the Loch of the Lowes wildlife reserve.

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A female osprey has laid her third egg of the season.

A female osprey has laid her third egg of the season at a reserve run by the Scottish Wildlife Trust in Perth and Kinross.

The bird coded NC0 laid the latest egg at the Loch of the Lowes wildlife reserve near Dunkeld at around 7.40am on Saturday.

NC0 was ringed as a chick near Loch Ness in 2016, with her 13-year-old mate LM12 breeding at the Loch of the Lowes for 10 seasons.

Osprey eggs are the same size as large hen eggs and NC0’s chicks are expected to hatch in mid to late-May.

Their nest features on a live webcam, with a clip of NC0 and her eggs also posted by the trust on YouTube.

Sara Rasmussen, Perthshire ranger at the trust, said: “Younger ospreys tend to be less productive so we thought that NC0 might stop at two eggs this year, but we’re really pleased that she has laid three eggs in her second season on the reserve.

“We can’t wait to see the chicks hatch out next month.

“Our team of staff and volunteers are monitoring the reserve around the clock to help ensure these ospreys have a safe and secure nesting site.

“I’d like to remind people that accessing the loch can disturb the birds at a critical point in their breeding season.

“We’d encourage members of the public to follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and pay attention to any warning signs that are in place to help protect wildlife.”

Teen challenges party leaders on key issue of climate change

Activist Dylan Hamilton, from West Lothian, insisted young people were 'very, very angry' about this issue.

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Teen challenges party leaders on key issue of climate change.

A teenage climate campaigner has accused Scotland’s political leaders of failing to do what is necessary to tackle the environment crisis.

Activist Dylan Hamilton, from West Lothian, insisted young people were “very, very angry” about this issue, telling First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and others: “We are trying to knock down your doors.”

The teenager made the remarks in an election debate focused on the issues of the environment and climate change that was organised by YouthLink.

The youngster has been missing school on Fridays for more than two years, taking part in the School Strike for Climate protest sparked by fellow teen Greta Thunberg.

The teenager told how he first went on strike from school in February 2019, saying he had done this “every single Friday ever since”.

He told political leaders taking part in the virtual debate: “I want you to take a second to process what that actually means – every single Friday for 123 weeks consecutively I have refused to focus on my education and instead dealt with a problem you should have dealt with.

“You are still not dealing with it. Young people don’t agree you have done what is necessary either.”

SNP leader Sturgeon took part in the online debate, along with Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie and Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie.

The teenager told them: “I want to show you all we are very, very angry. We are trying to knock down your doors. I have sacrificed my education and having a normal childhood to pressure you to fix a problem that we have known about for a decade before I was born.

“This is my future life and it’s the lives of people around the world right now. You should not be inspired by us, you should be angry and upset.

“This is my Highers year, during a global pandemic and I have a chronic illness. I should have enough to worry about.”

He spoke out during the Climate Hot Seat event, which was organised by young people aged 13-32 representing seven youth organisations in Scotland.

Sturgeon responded it was right for young people to “bang down our doors” as she pledged she would not “pass the buck” on tackling climate change.

The SNP leader insisted: “We need to act. This is a pivotal moment. When things fall apart you can choose how you put them back together.

“We need to prioritise an investment-led green recovery era and tackling inequalities. Words are easy but hold us to account on our actions.”

Ross, meanwhile, accepted there was a “lot of work to do” on the issue.

The Tory leader said: “We have to see and deliver meaningful outcomes at Cop26 in Glasgow this year and young people will play a big part in making that a success.

“There is no doubt that we have a lot of work to do as it looks like we have let you down for too long.”

Sarwar said: “I know young people are impatient, fizzing and angry. We need young people’s voices to be front and centre in climate change, in teaching the true history of our country, and necessary future skills.

“We need to ensure the climate is at the heart of our national recovery.”

Rennie thanked the young people who had taken part for “being very blunt with us”.

The Lib Dem said: “We need to make sure we contribute to the sustainable development of our country if we are going to have a planet for future generations.”

Harvie told the youngsters: “It can create a lot of anxiety to face up to the challenges that your generation has been left to face.”

The Green added: “This moment is an incredible opportunity. We need to invest in the future and reshape our society. The Green Manifesto will investment in renewables, warm homes, public transport, restoring nature, ensuring we have a fair and equal society.”

Speaking after the debate, Emily Beever, senior development officer at YouthLink Scotland, said young people had been “energised to question party leaders about the climate and nature emergencies”.

She added: “This hustings shows young people care deeply about the actions of politicians affecting their future and are ready and able to hold them accountable for their decisions.”

Carer who battered baby from day she was born struck off

Michael Finlay is currently serving a five-year sentence after he was jailed in 2019 for the attacks.

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Prison: Michael Finlay received a five-year jail sentence.

A support worker who left a baby with a fractured skull after repeatedly assaulting her from the day she was born has been banned from returning to work as a carer once he is freed from prison.

Michael Finlay, who once stated “s*** happens” in reference to one of his attacks, targeted the girl between October and December 2017 at a house in Lenzie, East Dunbartonshire.

One of the attacks, in which he shook the baby “uncontrollably”, occurred on Christmas Day.

At Glasgow Sheriff Court in June 2019, Finlay was convicted of repeatedly assaulting the child to her severe injury and danger of life. The following month he was sentenced to five years in jail.

At his trial the court heard how Finlay, of Johnstone, Renfrewshire, would “lose control” and yell at the baby to “shut up” when she cried.

Jurors were also told how he had previously been warned about his handling of the child when the baby’s mum sent him a text message, saying: “You need to be careful, so she does not have any knocks like last time.”

He replied: “I know.”

The court heard that Finlay inflicted “blunt force trauma” to cause the skull fracture and that he could not explain where a lump on her head had come from when later questioned.

Sheriff Norman Ritchie QC told Finlay: “Your rage has cost you your home, your employment and your liberty.

“No one who heard the evidence could fail to be moved by the plight of the child who suffered at your hands.”

Finlay’s lawyer, Gary Allan QC, told the court that he loved his job as a carer.

He said: “Not only was he good at caring for vulnerable people but he enjoyed it.”

However, the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) found his fitness to practise impaired and removed him from the care register following an impairment hearing on April 2 this year.

In a written ruling, the watchdog branded Finlay’s conviction “extremely serious” and stated that his “violent behaviour” fell “well below the standards expected of a social services worker”.

The panel stated: “You have shown no evidence of remediation and the panel could take no comfort that you would not pose a risk to the public and service users were you to work in the profession in the near future.

“The panel, given the seriousness of your actions, the fact that you have not engaged with the SSSC or demonstrated that you have changed your behaviour and the public interest in maintaining confidence in the profession, have decided that your fitness to practise is currently impaired.”

The SSSC acknowledged that a removal order was the “most serious sanction”, but concluded that it was “proportionate”, balancing Finlay’s interest against the “public interest and public protection”.

Gordonstoun shares unseen images of the Duke of Edinburgh

The pictures from 1937 show Prince Philip in happy times, sailing one of Moray school's boats.

Major B Varvill R.A.M.C via Gordonstoun
Duke of Edinburgh: Prince Philip passed away on April 9 at the age of 99.

Previously unseen images of the Duke of Edinburgh have been released by the prince’s former school.

The pictures from 1937 show Prince Philip in happy times, sailing one of Gordonstoun’s boats, Diligent.

A spokesperson for Gordonstoun said: “In one image Philip shows his confidence at the helm. In the other he demonstrates his confidence doing the washing up.”

The pictures were taken by the great-uncle of a former student, who contacted the Moray school following the Duke’s death on April 9.

Major B Varvill R.A.M.C via Gordonstoun
Sailor: Prince Philip attended Gordonstoun.

Prince Phillip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, passed away at Windsor Castle at the age of 99.

The Duke and the Queen were married for more than 70 years and Philip dedicated decades of his life to royal duty, serving the nation at the monarch’s side.

His funeral takes place on Saturday.

Gordonstoun via Email
Gordonstoun: Students took part in an early morning run.

On Friday, Gordonstoun students took part in an early morning run in tribute to the Duke.

Morning runs were compulsory at the school until the 1990s and more than 100 students and staff, in household groups, ran a 3.5km route from Gordonstoun House to the nearby Coastguard watchtower that Philip reopened in 1955.

Gordonstoun via Email
Watchtower: Prince Philip reopened it in 1955.

The watchtower replaced a wooden hut that the Duke, a member of the “Watchers” – a precursor to the Coastguard – helped build in 1935.

The school’s young sailors will pay their own tribute to him on Saturday ahead of his funeral, laying a wreath at sea off Hopeman Harbour in Moray from the school yacht, while a lone student piper plays.

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