Silent tribute to bombing victims

A SOMBRE silence fell across East Anglia as thousands of people stood still to remember those who lost their lives in the London bombings.Exactly a week after the terrorist atrocities, hundreds of people in towns and villages observed a two-minute silence in tribute to the dozens of commuters killed in the blasts.

A SOMBRE silence fell across East Anglia as thousands of people stood still to remember those who lost their lives in the London bombings.

Exactly a week after the terrorist atrocities, hundreds of people in towns and villages observed a two-minute silence in tribute to the dozens of commuters killed in the blasts.

In Ipswich, town mayor Bill Wright was joined by members of Ipswich Borough Council and addressed the large crowd from the balcony of the Town Hall shortly before noon.

He said: “Ladies and gentleman, there are no words which can express our sorrow at such times as this.


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“The London bombings last week affected many people. Let us take a few minutes to remember all those who passed away.”

The solemn ring of the Town Hall bell signalled the beginning of the tribute and shoppers stood with their heads bowed as they reflected on the tragedy.

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A few minutes walk away, staff at Jessops camera shop were feeling their own personal devastation at the events of last Thursday.

Their colleague Richard Ellery, 21, is missing and feared dead in the attacks after travelling to the capital for a staff training day.

Jessops manager David Gunn temporarily closed the store and staff remained inside to observe the national silence in private.

A spokeswoman for rail operator One said it made announcements at all its stations shortly before noon inviting people to observe the silence to remember those who not only lost their lives, but were injured or affected in someway by the terrorist bombings.

Shoppers and workers solemnly bowed their heads in respect on the streets of Bury St Edmunds and other west Suffolk towns and villages for the two-minute silence.

And they were joined by military personnel from East Anglia's two mighty USAF bases - just days after officials at RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath were criticised for banning servicemen from London.

Hundreds of airmen, who are once again allowed to visit London after base bosses rescinded the ban, joined together to pay their respects after the attacks on the capital.

A spokesman for RAF Mildenhall said: “The United States remains strong in its stance with the people of Great Britain as a friend, partner and ally.

“The hearts and thoughts of all Team Mildenhall members remain with those who lost their lives, as well as their friends and families - they share their grief with their British friends.”

Capt. Jason McCree, Lakenheath spokesman, said: “It was a humble occasion.

“Our hearts and thoughts are with those personally involved, as well as their friends and families. All of our Airmen share the grief with our British friends and we want to express our deepest condolences.”

The two-minute silence held a particular poignancy for pupils at an Essex school, which was attended by a talented lawyer thought to have been killed in the London bombings.

Fiona Stevenson, 29, set off for work in London on Thursday morning, but never arrived. She left her home at the Barbican at 8.20am to go to work, but no-one has been able to contact her since.

Her distraught family, who still live in Essex, are now waiting for confirmation that she was a victim of the horrific attacks.

Miss Stevenson, who was brought up and educated in the Chelmsford area, went to St John's Primary School in Danbury, and New Hall School and King Edward's Grammar School in Chelmsford.

The moment was marked individually by pupils and staff in the classrooms.

Ambulance staff across the county stopped to remember the terrible events of last Thursday in London.

At Ambulance Headquarters in Chelmsford, about 70 people congregated around the flagpole for two minutes of silence and prayers.

Other staff joined members of the public in Chelmsford and other towns across Essex.

Essex Ambulance Service Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, said: “This incident affected many people in the county.

“Thousands know people who work there or were in London for any number of other reasons.

“Some will know people who are either dead or missing.

“The fact that so many staff left their desks or, where possible stopped what they were doing to bow their heads and remember speaks volumes.”

Meanwhile, at the Town Sign in Chelmsford, the Deputy Mayor, Patricia Hughes, led the two-minute silence. Chelmsford Borough Council staff and visitors paid their respects at the war memorial just before noon.

Members of the public joined Colchester Borough Council staff and councillors on the steps of the town hall to observe the silence.

In London, the Queen stood in silence in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace as the capital and the whole of Britain came to a standstill.

Cities in the 25 European Union countries marked the two minutes, while on the other side of the Atlantic the three US states affected by the September 11 atrocities offered their respect and support to Britain.

On London Underground, many staff wore black armbands to commemorate the pain and tragedy inflicted on the city and its people.

In the capital's mainline stations, shops and offices, work ceased as the carnage of a week ago was recalled.

Prime Minister Tony Blair observed the two minutes in the garden of 10 Downing Street, where he had been presenting bravery awards to police officers.

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