Tuesday 24 October 2017

Duke of Cambridge attends emotional service at 7/7 London bombing memorial

The Duke of Cambridge before laying a wreath at the July 7 memorial in Hyde Park, London, as Britain remembers the July 7 attacks amid a welter of warnings about the enduring and changing threat from terrorism a decade on. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
The Duke of Cambridge before laying a wreath at the July 7 memorial in Hyde Park, London, as Britain remembers the July 7 attacks amid a welter of warnings about the enduring and changing threat from terrorism a decade on. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The Duke of Cambridge has attended an emotional service at the 7/7 memorial in Hyde Park as hundreds gathered to remember the victims of the London terrorist attacks.

Relatives of victims, as well as survivors, were seated next to the permanent memorial as members of the public looked on from behind barriers.

The Rock Choir sang, the crowd heard readings and more flowers were laid at the spot where Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor or London Boris Johnson laid wreaths earlier.

There were 400 people seated at the service, and Prince William stood and chatted to many of them when the service was over.

Survivor Emma Craig, who was 14 in 2005 and is now 24, wept as she spoke to the crowd, and said: "All of us lost our innocence on that day, our naivety, the thought that 'something like that could never happen to me' or even to London."

Ms Craig, who was on her way to work experience at a legal firm in Tower Hill, said she "struggled a lot afterwards" because she was scared of being weak.

She recalled her mother ringing her to check she was okay as she had heard about a bomb going off, and she remembered saying to her mother: "Mum I was there. I was on the Tube."

She said her mother does not swear and recalled her saying: "Sugar. I'm on my way."

Ms Craig said that while quite often people will say "terrorism won't break us", she added: "The fact is it may not have broken London but it did break some of us."

Ms Craig, who was not injured, said sometimes she feels people are so "hellbent" on terrorism not breaking us that they "forget about all the people who got caught up in it".

Afterwards, Ms Craig, from Friern Barnet in north London,said she did not really talk about her experience for about six years.

"I've never really spoken publicly about it," she said.

Ms Craig, who works in marketing, said she thought it was "important" to speak at the service.

"There were some things I wanted to say not just to survivors but to the bereaved families as well," she said, adding that there were things she wanted to say that people had "never said before".

She said some survivors have post traumatic stress disorder and struggle to put put into words what their emotions are.

Ms Craig said her mother was "terrified", and recalled how she did not have any cash for a taxi so her work colleagues all "threw money at her".

She said one of her most poignant memories of that day was how everyone came out of restaurants and office buildings to see what they could do to help.

"They all came together irrespective of what their background was," she said.

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