Well-wishers flocked to Cardiff’s Norwegian Church over the weekend to pay tribute to the victims of Norway’s bomb attack and mass shooting.
More than 100 messages of sympathy were left in a condolence book in the Norwegian Church, including from members of the Welsh-Norwegian Society and relatives and descendants of Norwegian settlers in Wales.
One tribute, from Moira Mendecci, read: “I and my family have a great affinity with Norway because, without the bravery of one Norwegian in April 1940, my father would not have survived in the snow after his Sunderland crashed. As a result I and all my family owe our lives to the Norwegian people.
“They are such a caring race and I’m sure they will, in time, come to terms with this terrible event.”
A Norwegian family who were on holiday in Wales at the time of the tragedy left a message which praised the reactions of people in Wales.
It read: “I have no words to express how I feel, but I’m very proud that the people of Wales have shown such sympathy for the people of Norway.
May they rest in peace.”Robert Llewellyn, of Cardiff, was visiting the church with his wife and mother.
“When we sat inside the church everyone was talking about it,” he said. “You think, ‘if it happened here how would we feel?’
“In that respect one has a great deal of sympathy and compassion for the people who are directly suffering as a result of this tragedy.”
The church, which first opened in 1868, and again in 1992, is a symbol of the capital’s links with the country during the growth of mining in the 19th century.
Norwegian seamen were unable to return to Norway during World War II, and up to 70,000 Scandinavians are thought to have worshipped there every year.
Wales’ notable links with Norway also extend to one of Cardiff’s most famous sons – children’s author Roald Dahl was born of Norwegian parents after his father Harald settled in the city to found a ship-brokering business.
Tony Burnell, the Norwegian Church officer, said: “People have been signing the book and bringing in flowers. They have also been donating money and leaving condolences on Facebook.”