Hundreds attended Cults Parish Church to light a candle for Bailey Gwynne last night, remembering and honouring their lost friend and pupil.
The Rev Ewen Gilchrist expressed his amazement by the community response to the candle-lit vigil in memory of the young man, tragically killed just the day before.
He said: “We had no idea what to expect, we had no game plan. There is no ‘this is what you do in this scenario’.
“All we know is that a terrible sadness has poured out of Cults Academy.
“Bailey went to school yesterday, and would never come home. Sometime soon Bailey’s family will have to bury their son.
“It’s not meant to be like that. We know it’s not meant to be like that.”
But speaking of the multitude he was addressing, all packing the church to capacity to remember Bailey, Rev Gilchrist added: “Bailey’s family will hear of this, they will read about this, they will see it, and in their darkness they will find comfort.”
Cults Academy pupils made up the majority of the congregation, alongside parents, members of the local community, and people from outwith the area - they numbered so many, that all the chairs were taken up, with many people huddled together on the floor and on the stairs.
They were encouraged to write on the message boards, to leave notes of condolence to Bailey’s family, and to talk among themselves between the local ministers who spoke and gave readings.
School Chaplain for 16 years, Rev John Ferguson of Culter Parish Church, said: “I know that Cults Academy is a fantastic school. There’s a really strong moral ethos, it’s a school where people care for each other.
“I know that that strength and that ethos will really hold you in good stead for the difficult days to come.”
Looking around at the sadness Bailey’s absence had left, Rev Ferguson added: “Bailey, in his life, knew love, and for that, we can be thankful.”
Drawing the vigil to a close, Rev Gilchrist said: “We all know that in the real world, bad things happen to good people, and that is why we’re here today and Bailey isn’t.
“Stay, go, whatever you would like to do, you are very welcome.”
Cults Parish Church will be open today in until about 6pm, for anyone who needs it.