ABOUT 600 people attended a memorial service at Loretto School in Musselburgh to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of racing legend Jim Clark.

A former Loretto pupil, the double Formula 1 world champion died on April 7, 1968, aged just 32, after a crash during a race at Hockenheim in Germany.

Pupils past and present, his family and invited guests, including East Lothian Councillors and representatives from the world of racing, gathered in the chapel for what was later described as a “fitting tribute” to Clark.

Clark, who was brought up on a farm near Duns, was world champion in 1963 and 1965 while also winning the world-famous Indianapolis 500 in the latter year.

He won 25 Formula 1 Grands Prixs from 77 starts – 33 from pole position – and also had wins in the British and European Touring Car Championships, British and European Formula 2 Championships and a hat-trick of Tasman Series Cup victories in 1965, 1967 and 1968.

The service got under way at 10.30am and was filmed by Sky Sports F1, which will show sections of it in July.

Interviews were also conducted with Jonathan Hewat, Loretto’s director of communications and the event organiser; Ian Scott-Watson, who was Clark’s mentor during his racing career; Sandy Denham, chairman of the Scottish Motor Racing Club; and Nicola Peddie, Clark’s niece.

Two large TV screens were visible behind the altar showing photographs of Clark at school and during his career. Film footage of his racing was screened, the noise on track brought to life by surround-sound speakers set up in the chapel.

There were video tributes from Formula 1 world champions Sir Jackie Stewart – who won the title three times – and Damon Hill, former motorsport team boss Eddie Jordan, current Formula 1 drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, and Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft.

A tribute in the chapel was also given by Neil Kennedy, a former Loretto pupil with Clark who, as an air traffic controller, ensured the plane carrying Clark’s body back from Germany got immediate landing at a busy Edinburgh Airport.

The main address was given by Canon Scott Smith, lay canon at St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle, who was also at Loretto with Clark.

Video footage of the late Ayrton Senna’s visit to Loretto in 1991 in front of a plaque dedicated to Clark was shared. The Brazilian won three Formula 1 world championships in 1988, 1990 and 1991. He died aged 34 after succumbing to injuries sustained in the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994.

Loretto pupils gave readings and a retiring collection was taken for the Jim Clark Trust at the end of the service.

Outside the chapel, two of Clark’s Lotus Elan cars were much admired by pupils and visitors alike. Pipers from Loretto played Rose of Kelvingrove.

Mr Denham presented a Jim Clark Memorial Medal to Loretto’s head boy Chris Edwardson and head girl Daisy Dobson. It was number two out of 250 medals, with number one received by the Jim Clark Trust.

Refreshments were served in the dining hall, followed by a short montage of images, words and music in the school theatre.

An exhibition in the foyer displayed one of Clark’s trophies, photographs and memorabilia.

A drum fanfare was given and Simon Lowe, director of expressive arts at Loretto, conducted a platform interview with Andrew Tulloch, assistant curator at Scottish Borders Council, about the Jim Clark Museum at Duns and work of the trust.

A performance by the Loretto Highland dancers was enjoyed before a buffet lunch at Pinkie House.

Mr Hewat said: “This was a memorable and fitting tribute to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of racing legend Jim Clark.

“It is so important that Jim’s legacy is kept alive and the packed Loretto School Chapel was testament to that – Loretto pupils, parents, Jim’s family and friends, former pupils and many invited guests.”