This week, I saw a striking headline in the Tring Gazette outlining that Martine Wiltshire, a victim of the 2005 London bombings, will be competing at the Paralympic Games. Martine will compete as part of Team GB’s sitting volleyball team. I have to say, her story is just an amazing example of how to turn a truly horrendous experience into something positive or in her own words, ‘how to create new dreams out of something so negative.’
Martine had been out celebrating the fact that London had been awarded the Olympics in that fateful July. I too had been down at Trafalgar Square that lunch time – I remember my colleagues and I were asked to discretely finish up our beers by a couple of bobbies as there’s a no drinking policy under Nelson’s shadow. (Although I swear it was always the place to gather for New Year’s Eve drinkies). So Martine took a later train to work the next day and found herself sitting just 4ft away from a suicide bomber.
At around a similar time, I was evacuated from Westminster Tube Station just yards from the Houses of Parliament. The escalators weren’t working and I remember that my boyfriend and I were moaning about having to walk up so many flights of stairs. We then jumped on the nearest bus (like everyone else) before reports started coming through about a blast in Aldgate, where Martine must have been.
Everyone had a story to tell about that day. Later in the year, I was catching up with an old colleague when the conversation turned to this day and she told me her cousin had been killed in Tavistock Square. So I always felt that it could have been any of us that morning in 2005 and I’m still so sorry for all the victims and their families; it was such a bitter blow after one of the most incredible days in our history. But to read Martine’s story lifts my heart; I’ll certainly be following her every move this summer, willing her to gold in the very city where her life changed forever. Go Martine and team!