Tunisia terror survivor recovers in UK hospital following surgery

Allison and Philip Heathcote

Allison and Philip Heathcote - Credit: Gregg Brown

A Suffolk survivor of last week’s Tunisian terror attack, which killed 38 people including her husband, is in a critical but stable condition following five hours of surgery in a British hospital.

Allison Heathcote, 48, of Felixstowe, who was put in an induced coma following an operation to rebuild her shoulder in Tunisia, was among the wounded Britons flown home in an RAF C17 transport plane on Monday night.

She was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, at 12.45am and admitted to the operating theatre at 9am.

Mrs Heathcote sustained five gunshot wounds – three to her upper and lower torso, one to her right arm and one to her shoulder.

A Braintree couple have also been named among those flown back.

Nursery nurse, Kirsty Murray, 25, and fiancé Radley Ruszkiewicz, 29, were initially taken to separate hospitals but were later reunited. Miss Murray was shot in both legs, while Mr Ruszkiewicz was injured in a grenade blast.

On Monday it was confirmed that Philip Heathcote, 52, was among the dead. He and his wife should have been celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary at the resort.

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Cricket clubs around Suffolk and north Essex will be invited to observe a minute’s silence to remember Mr Heathcote ahead of fixtures this weekend. He joined Felixstowe Corinthians Cricket Club as a bowler in the early 1990s and left around 10 years ago to coach youngsters, continuing his involvement with the Two Counties Championship as a member of the umpiring panel.

Over the last 25 years, Mrs Heathcote was secretary of Felixstowe Cricket Club, Felixstowe Corinthians Cricket Club and Felixstowe and Corinthians Youth Cricket Club. She was also Two Counties secretary – a position she was due to formally retire from at a meeting scheduled for next Monday, following the couple’s return from their two-week stay in Tunisia.

League official, Steve Isaac said: “We would like to have a minute’s silence to pay our respects to someone who voluntarily helped the league over the years, and to offer our prayers for Allison, who has a heck of a battle ahead of her and is, at the moment, completely unaware of what of what has happened.

“I think there has been enough publicity for word to get around, and that teams will observe it, but it will be voluntary.

“You just don’t envisage it happening to someone you know. Philip was a lovely chap. It’s a massive loss for the cricketing community. God-willing, Allison will make a full recovery.”

Following surgery, Mrs Heathcote was transferred back to the Critical Care Unit and remains in a critical but stable condition, under sedation. Her family were said to have arrived at the hospital by the afternoon.

The weekend’s mark of respect will follow a national minute’s silence to remember victims at noon on Friday – one week after the shooting.

Downing Street yesterday said 21 Britons had been “positively identified” as victims of the murder spree, while another nine UK nationals are believed to be among the 38 people who died after 23-year-old student Seifeddine Rezgui opened fire in Sousse.