05 July 2006


It's hard to believe it has been almost a year since the terrorist attacks in London. Despite being so far away (geographically speaking), the memory is still vivid. I remember seeing the breaking news on the BBC website, rushing through to the living room to put the tv on, trying to understand what on earth was going on...

My mother was visiting that day - she was staying nearby and catching a train to Chester to have lunch with me. By the time I left the house at 12.30 to meet her at the train station, the picture of what had happened was still unclear.

Entering the station, it was chaos as all rail services to London had been suspended. I remember a station staffer surrounded by people clamouring to know if their train would be running. I remember talking to a German guy stranded in Chester and due to catch a flight home from Stanstead that afternoon - I told him to call his airline as he had no chance of making his flight. Then dashing to the platform to find my mother, apologising for being late and explaining why. She was blissfully ignorant until I told her what had happened. Then she was full of questions. I could only tell her what little I knew - that there was a suspicion of terrorism but nothing confirmed. We ate lunch in the hotel bar over the road. The tv was switched to BBC News 24 and the pub was eerily silent as all of us watched the unfolding news.

Back home at 2pm, I returned to the TV. By now it was becoming clear that this was no accident. I started to cry and then it suddenly occurred to me I had friends in London, some so close they are practically family. I raced to the phone and began dialling. Why hadn't I thought of making contact sooner? Impossible to get through, the lines were jammed. Started sending e-mails and texts instead. Cried some more.

I did no work that day and very little the next, the news was too compelling. I was relieved that everyone I know was ok, no one in my circle had been caught up in the atrocities.

I've been reading the BBC's online coverage of what happened to the relatives of the victims one year on. It's heart-breaking and my tears flow again for those who died and those left to carry on.

Rachel North is again writing for the BBC. She is incredibly articulate and an inspiration. Her blog is compelling reading. Her anger at the government's refusal to hold a public enquiry is palpable and I share it, albeit to a lesser extent than the other survivors must. I signed the petition to demand an enquiry and I urge everyone who reads this to do so too.

There will be a two-minute silence at noon on Friday. Please observe it.

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