Opinion: We should never forget these tiny Dunblane pupils and their teacher

It’s one of those where were you when moments … the mention of a name or event vividly brings back the exact time you first heard about something.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 5:22 pm
Updated Friday, 12th March 2021, 5:36 pm

Depending on your age, it could be when you heard John Lennon was shot, the Berlin Wall came down or the death of Princess Diana.

All notable events in their own right.

But this Saturday we mark the 25th anniversary of an event that occurred only a few miles away and is one that can and should never be forgotten.

The Snowdrop Appeal was launched in the wake of the Dunblane massacre

The Dunblane massacre when 16 tiny pupils and their teacher were shot by a crazed gunman has left a scar on that community and across the wider country.

I remember the day vividly. I’d taken the opportunity of a last-minute trip to London, a chance to spend a few hours in the capital and do some shopping.

In the early afternoon I was crossing Oxford Street and saw a newspaper billboard with headlines of a school massacre.

My initial thoughts were it must be in America.

But then I discovered it involved five-year-olds in a gym class at a Central Scotland school.

I had sent a five-year-old to a Falkirk school that day with his gym kit.

In the middle of this bustling street I was hysterical. And remember this was in the days before social media and everyone having mobile phones.

Even when I learned he was safe and it was in Dunblane all I wanted to do was get home and hug my children tight.

Many parents said they felt the same.

In the days and weeks that followed the coverage of what had happened made headlines around the world.

The small community showed tremendous dignity as it was besieged by the media, while I’m sure all it wanted to do was weep for their lost children and look after the survivors.

But more importantly friends and family began the Snowdrop Campaign to ban private gun ownership as killer Thomas Hamilton had used legally held weapons in the school before taking his own life.

On March 13 remember these tiny youngsters and their teacher – and hold your own children close.

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