Memories, eerie reminder for Kiwi in London

Published: Sun 28 Nov 2010 04:13 PM
Media release – November 28, 2010
Memories, eerie reminder for Kiwi in London on July 7
- Kip Brook
The events this week of the Pike River coal mine tragedy have triggered eerie memories for a New Zealander in London during the July 7 terrorist bombings in 2005.
Michelle Marsh, who is president of the NZ-UK Society, went to work earlier than usual on that July 7 day because we had a job review to prepare for.
She may not have survived had she taken her normal tube route to work from Bounds Green to Russell Square on the Piccadilly Line at her normal time. Her friend, a flatmate, moved out two weeks earlier and two tube stations along at Turnpike Lane, died in the bombings.
Marsh said she could not go on the Piccadilly Line for a year after July 7. Today she said her thoughts were with the Pike river families.
``It will be such a difficult time. Everyone deals with grief differently especially something so public in a small country; everyone needs to remember that -- the press, the families and the public. There will be so many emotions running around that everyone just needs to take their own time in how they deal with their grief and emotions.
``My thoughts and condolences are those who have lost someone in this tragedy and for the town of Greymouth. The dark cloud will lift eventually. New Zealanders are strong and community-spirited wherever they are in the world and every Kiwi right now is feeling their pain.
``I was actually in New Zealand the day it happened and as I landed in back in London I heard of the news the 29 miners had perished in the second explosion.’’
The day before the July 7 attack London had just won the 2012 Olympics hosting rights. The city was ecstatic and overjoyed with the news. It was the start of summer and Marsh was off to Italy with friends so planning the trip. She felt guilty for quite some time as her friend and ex-flatmate had been killed in the attack.
``Why her and not me? I went to work 20 minutes early that day. If I hadn’t I would have been on that tube that day.
``I remember sirens; so many sirens; seeing helicopters hovering above and just watching the news; texting and emailing friends to see if they were safe. Calling home to let them know I was safe. A long walk home with the rest of London as there was no public transport. Hearing the bus go off, it sounded like scaffolding or construction falling down.
``I felt guilty for quite some time as a friend had been killed in the attack. Why her and not me? I went to work 20 minutes early that day, if I hadn’t I would have been on that tube. Sometimes if I feel uneasy on the tube I get off and wait for another one or I get off completely and take a bus. It’s now coming up 7 years so it is a distant memory that sticks in the mind when you hear a lot of sirens or a tube station is evacuated.’’
More than five years after the attacks, bereaved families have been given the chance via an inquest to ask questions from the police and emergency services about whether their loved ones could have been saved. The scope of the inquests, which started last month, will also include the sensitive issue of whether the attacks could have been prevented, which could involve calling officers from MI5 to explain their decisions.

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