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Wednesday, 7 July 2010

My memories of the day London was attacked - 7/7 2005

My day was a weird one on the 7th July 2005, to be fair given the Olympics announcement it was a weird week.
I was now Head of Office and Constituency Organiser to Lynne Featherstone MP and Haringey Liberal Democrats.

Lynne and I had had a good day on the 6th July when the Olympics result was announced - in fact we had been stood in the corridor behind the Speakers Chair when the announcement took place, a rare occasion that cheering happened in the Chamber!

Anyhow, back to 7/7. I'd come into our Norman Shaw office early to deal with casework, parliamentary questions and the like but was due to take my laptop over to Southwark (previous job) so Matt could take EARS off my laptop.

I'd gone from Westminster to London Bridge on the Jubilee line and was halfway up the escalator when they just stopped (afterwards we realised it happened at the moment the first bomb went off). 3 tube staff ran, no, sprinted down past startled passengers.

I continued up and out to Matt, the staff at the top were saying there had been a power surge, so people were just carrying on as if nothing had happened.

After seeing Matt, handing over the laptop and having a quick catch up I headed back into London Bridge but given the fact that the Underground staff were no longer allowing people down onto the platforms and the sheer density of the crowds I headed up to the overground train station and onto a train to Charing Cross.

Still the power surge was to blame.

From Charing Cross I sauntered up Whitehall, still completely oblivious to what had happened although by now there was the sound of sirens wailing across London.

It was only when I got back to our office in Norman Shaw that I realised there had been no power surge but in fact a series of bombs had gone off bringing parts of London to a standstill, but worse, that people had been killed and even more injured.

The eerie sound of sirens then sounded for the remainder of the day, no work was done, everyone in the House of Commons was just sat or standing in silence watching tv monitors in offices and corridors.

Lynne had driven in with one of her daughters that day and all the MPs were trying their best to act normal and strong in light of this terror attacks.  This was made harder because we knew that constituents would have been affected.

As the hours and days passed afterwards this became very apparent and Lynne and everyone in the office put that bit extra effort into those cases I can tell you.

It was a day I will always remember and will never forget those who died or who were injured nor the people from the emergency services who were heroes.

Thank you to the policemen, policewomen, firemen, firewomen, doctors, nurses and paramedics who worked that day including two friends and colleagues - Richard Porter and Brian Paddick - we owe you all so much.

These are my memories of the day London stood still, you can read in The Independent the memories of a series of other people caught up in the day.

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