Marine's family speak of ordeal
THE family of Royal Marine Mark Banks have described his 13 days in captivity as an “extraordinary rollercoaster ride”.Speaking for the first time since the 24-year-old returned home to Suffolk, Mr Banks' family described conditions during his ordeal in Iran as hostile and uncomfortable.
THE family of Royal Marine Mark Banks have described his 13 days in captivity as an “extraordinary rollercoaster ride”.
Speaking for the first time since the 24-year-old returned home to Suffolk, Mr Banks' family described conditions during his ordeal in Iran as hostile and uncomfortable.
But they said they were confident he had the strength of character to recover and added that he was already back in his usual routine.
While he had apparently faced up to the immense psychological pressures with the courage expected from a Marine, his parents looked visibly worn down by their experience as they spoke to journalists outside their detached home in Conrad Road, Lowestoft, during a short press conference today .
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Expressing “unbelievable pride” at the bravery and defiance he had shown, mother Penny, 49, a holiday park receptionist, confessed the whole experience had been overwhelming for the family and said they had been “glued to the television” for updates.
She struggled to find words to convey the joy they felt when they learned on Wednesday he would be coming home, and the magical moment of the family reunion at the Royal Marines base at Chivenor in Devon.
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Asked whether she would let her son out of her sight again, Mrs Banks smiled and said: “I don't think I will have a choice. Mark loves his job and you will never change him on that.”
But she said her son was content, for the moment, to relax at home and had not worked out what he would be doing during his period of leave.
“The time will come for some sort of family celebration, but he is just very tired at the moment,” she said.
Mr Banks' arrival was marked by a Welcome Home Mark sign and bunting rigged up by neighbours.
His father Allistair, 52, described the time that had elapsed since his son's capture as an “absolutely extraordinary rollercoaster ride”.
He said: “We are so happy to have him back. And I must say how unbelievable the support of our friends and neighbours has been from day one.”
The railway safety officer said his son had not talked in great depth about his experiences so far and was just glad to be back in his “usual routine”.
Sister Anna, 18, a bank worker, added: “We are just glad to have him back and we have not thought about the politics of it all.”
Brother Neil, 26, also a local bank worker, read out a prepared statement from the family saying “words cannot describe the relief we feel at having Mark back home safe and well”.
It said he had conducted himself with a huge amount of dignity throughout his ordeal “despite being held in hostile and uncomfortable conditions, which is in direct contradiction to what his captors had attempted to portray”.
The family expressed “absolute confidence that Mark has the resilience and strength of character to progress on from this”.