Honours for the people of Lockerbie

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The Independent US

The residents of Lockerbie were praised by the US Attorney General today during an awards ceremony marking their role in the aftermath of the plane tragedy which claimed 270 lives.

Dumfries and Galloway Council and Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary were each honoured with unique awards from the US government at a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.

They were both chosen by US Attorney General Janet Reno for the Special Award for Extraordinary Response to International Terrorism following the explosion of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie on December 21, 1988.

Representatives from the Dumfries and Galloway area, including police chief constable Willie Rae, council chief executive Phil Jones, council convener Andrew Campbell and Lockerbie councillor Marjorie McQueen, were present at the ceremony in the Senate Caucus Room.

Mr Jones, Mr Campbell and Mrs McQueen accepted a brass plaque on a wooden mount on behalf of the local authority while Mr Rae and Detective Chief Inspector Tom McCulloch accepted a similar award on behalf of the police.

The awards are the highest honour bestowed by the Office for Victims of Crime which is part of the US Department of Justice.

A Scottish Executive spokesman said the police and council had received separate but equivalent awards.

Approved by the President, they are given to individuals and organisations whose work on behalf of victims is characterised by exceptional commitment and courage.

After the disaster, many women in Lockerbie spent months working to return victims' belongings to their families.