Bombings hero shocked by MBE

ONE of the heroes of the terrorist attacks on London has spoken of his shock after he was made an MBE in the New Year Honours list.Peter Sanders, 57, helped rescue the injured in the Piccadilly Line blast between King's Cross and Russell Square on July 7.

By Juliette Maxam

ONE of the heroes of the terrorist attacks on London has spoken of his shock after he was made an MBE in the New Year Honours list.

Peter Sanders, 57, helped rescue the injured in the Piccadilly Line blast between King's Cross and Russell Square on July 7. He said: “It wasn't just one person, all my staff on that day were heroes.”

Mr Sanders, group station manager at King's Cross underground, added: “I went down there and people were coming back from the train with blackened faces and hands, their clothes torn away.

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“I set up first aiders to deal with the injured then went to the train, which was 300 metres away. You couldn't see your hand in front of you, there was darkness, smoke, dust and grime.

“Some of my staff had gone down there already, and what we saw was horrific, there were dead people, injured people. It was just unbelievable - it's very difficult to talk about it.”

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Mr Sanders, who lives in Chelmsford, helped set up a relay system from the front carriage back through the train and along the track to help people to safety on the station platform. He assisted many confused, dazed and injured people to safety.

He also helped organise triage facilities to assess people's injuries and stayed at the station from 6.30am on July 7 to 10.30am the next day.

“I still have flashbacks occasionally, but you try to push it to the back of your mind,'' he said.

“When I go to the platform, I still see people with blackened faces, and the injured. I'm absolutely gobsmacked to receive the honour.

“I knew my name had gone forward, but without the support of my staff who work for me, and my managers above me, I couldn't have got through it.''

Mr Sanders, who has given 31 years of service to London Underground is married to second wife Nicky, 31, and has sons Mark, 33, and Wayne, 32, and a daughter Courtney, eight.

Elsewhere in the county, a charity worker celebrated his last day at work by being made a Knight of the realm.

Roger Singleton, of Blackmore End, near Braintree, has been chief executive of Barnardo's, the children's charity, for the past 21 years.

Sir Roger, who was given the honour for services to children, said: “This is a great honour for me and I hope this award also recognises the enormous commitment that Barnardo's staff, volunteers and supporters make to the organisation.”

Professor Ivor Crewe, the vice-chancellor of University of Essex was also awarded a knighthood.

Prof Sir Crewe is already a Deputy Lieutenant of Essex and was awarded his Knight Bachelor honour for services to higher education.

He said: “I am honoured and delighted, not just for myself but for the university. It is particularly pleasing that this award should be made shortly after the university celebrated its 40th anniversary as it recognizes Essex's success over its first four decades.”

Essex University boasted a further honour for its staff with the award of an OBE for Professor Francoise Hampson, of the university's law department.

Her award was made for services to international law and human rights.

Chelmsford's Rhiannedd Pratley, the former chief executive of the Basic Skills Agency in Wales, was also given an OBE - for services to education in Wales.

An MBE was awarded to Chelmsford's Gillian Barratt, a contacts officer with Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate.

Meanwhile, a forensic photographer who set up the Essex Police choir is today awarded an MBE for services to music and the community in Essex.

Norman Eastbrook, of Tiptree, started the police choir in 1989 with a group of 12 singers. Now, he is still musical director but the choir has grown to between 50 to 60 members, both men and women.

The choir, which has raised between £180,000 to £200,000 for good causes, does charity concerts every month, offering their services free of charge to charities trying to raise funds.

Mr Eastbrook, 51, said: “It was a complete surprise when out of the blue news of the MBE came through. I'm humbled and honoured to receive it.”

A retired shop assistant who has organised the Remembrance Sunday parade in Braintree for the last 26 years is also honoured with an MBE.

Dennis Widdick is receiving his medal for services to the Royal British Legion in Braintree.

Mr Widdick, 75, who commanded the Air Training Corps in Braintree for 30 years, is secretary of the town's Royal British Legion branch and the Poppy Appeal organiser for the area.

“After all these years I can organise it fairly quickly,” said Mr Widdick, who is married to Daphne and has four grown-up children.

“I feel very honoured. It's something you don't expect. You do this voluntary work and enjoy it. Someone thought I deserved it. I'm very honoured.”

The chairman of Braintree Neighbourhood Watch, Nigel Oldacre, is getting an MBE for his services to Neighbourhood Watch in Essex.

Mr Oldacre, 66, started up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme in his own street, Broad Road, Bocking, after he was burgled in the 1980s.

“I have been lucky. We have got a good team and steering group. We've managed to establish good rapport with other organisations,” said Mr Oldacre, a retired Writtle College lecturer who said he was “speechless” when he found out about the MBE.

Former chief constable for Essex, David Stevens, was awarded a CBE for services to policing.

Mr Stevens now works as a consultant for the Home Office in Bedfordshire but was yesterday unavailable for comment about the honour.

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