Candlelight vigil held for Bailey Gwynne
Candles were lit, tears shed, messages written and memories shared as around 300 people attended the informal vigil for the Cults Academy pupil.
Bailey, 16, was stabbed at Cults Academy on Wednesday and died in hospital at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary despite the ‘heroic efforts’ of staff and pupils to save his life. Another pupil has been charged in connection with the death and is expected in court on Friday.
Rev Ewen Gilchrist, of the Church of Scotland Cults Parish, led the service and encouraged people to write a message on boards around the church, or to leave a note of condolence and support for Bailey’s family and hang it on a “prayer tree”.
Unlike traditional services, tea, coffee and cake was served and chairs were laid out to encourage people to sit and talk in groups.
Current and former pupils, parents, members of the local Cults community and church elders moved around the room adding their messages of support throughout the vigil.
The church was full to capacity with some people sitting on the carpeted floor as all the seats were taken.
Mr Gilchrist said: “We had no idea what to expect tonight.
“We thought something, something must be offered to bring people together.
“Bailey Gwynne’s family will hear about this and the number of people here and hopefully it will give them a bit of light in the darkness.
“We don’t want to fill the vigil time with words. We don’t tell people what to feel or what to think. But we do want to provide a safe and healing place where people can bring their hurt, their bewilderment, their questions, their sadness and even their anger.
“People are free to move around, to light candles, to write on the message boards for Bailey and add a prayer to the prayer tree.”
Messages left included “heal the hole in our hearts” and “you will be missed so badly, Bailey”.
One message dedicated to the 16-year-old who had talked of his wish to join the Royal Marines, read simply “soldier on soldier.”
People have also been leaving floral tributes and messages of condolence at the school gates since last night.
One message read: “My thoughts are with your family at this tragic time and with my fellow students who [are] shocked at you leaving us.
“The empty seat you leave behind in class will always be a reminder of the silent but kind boy who I took for granted seeing alive every day.
“I hope now you are in a better place.”
Another note left along with a flower read: “Tragically taken too soon. Rest in peace, Bailey. Our thoughts are with your family. I hope your parents will plant this rose in your memory.”
Other tributes simply read: “RIP, Bailey.”