Ipswich/London: Queen meets survivor of July 7 blast for second time
HE first met the Queen almost eight years ago in the aftermath of the devastating July 7 terrorist bombings.
And yesterday survivor Bruce Lait, 39, greeted Her Majesty for a second time to mark the unveiling of the revamped Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.
The Ipswich dance teacher, who survived the 2005 London Underground and bus network attacks which killed 52 people, was treated at the hospital after the Aldgate tube blast.
Mr Lait was invited to the ceremony by Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh along with his wife, former Olympic gymnast Ildiko Balog, 35, and their children Izabell, four, and nine-month-old Benjamin.
The former professional dancer, who was left partially deaf and suffered burns to his face in the bombing, said: “The first thing the Queen said to me was ‘you look much better than you did when I last saw you’.
“She asked me how my hearing was because she heard I had a burst eardrum and how I was getting on in my life.
“I told her that I was now married with two children and had moved on and was going forward with my life and she seemed genuinely interested.”
Mr Lait met his wife in Blackpool after the bombing as he and dance partner Crystal Yelland, from Ipswich, toured with the Simply Ballroom stage show.
The dancers had been on their way to rehearsals for the show in the West End and were in the second carriage of the Circle Line train when the bomb exploded.
He added: “What got me the most was that when I received the call from the hospital last week, the lady told me the Queen has personally asked for me to be there which I was very surprised and shocked to hear.
“I feel honoured and humbled to have met the Queen for a second time.
“She was really nice and genuine. It felt like she wasn’t there just doing a job, she was there because she cared.”
Mrs Yelland, who is still dancing and is touring with Strictly star Brendan Cole’s Licence To Thrill stage show, also attended the hospital with husband Leon.