Graftonian defies terrorists

Grafton couple Wendy and Peter Gilmore at home with a photo of their daughter Joanne, who was less than a block from the scene
Grafton couple Wendy and Peter Gilmore at home with a photo of their daughter Joanne, who was less than a block from the scene


THURSDAY'S terrorist attack on London will remain with Joanne Gilmore for the rest of her life.

The former Grafton girl was within a kilometre of two of the four confirmed blasts that rocked London.

Working at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in Russell Square, near the bus bomb attack and one of the Tube explosions, Joanne said initial reports were that a power surge had caused an accident in the underground rail network.

"Initially we were not allowed to leave the hospital," Joanne told The Daily Examiner from London late yesterday.

"When we found out what had happened, everybody was upset and shocked that it had happened.

"Hospitals in the area all pitched in, people were bringing blankets and bandages down to where the bus exploded."

Joanne, who has been in London for the past 18 months, said despite the severity of the events, people remained calm.

"No-one panicked, everybody was calm," she said.

"People here have been prepared for this and they dealt with it really well."

The medical scientist said the night of the blasts was 'eerie'.

"I wasn't allowed to go home straight away because where the explosions happened, was in the same area as where I live," she said.

"Police had cordoned off the street and I got escorted back to my home about 5.30pm.

"Normally during the night there is a lot of background noise in our street but it was quiet.

"It was quite eerie.

"I could hear them working on the bus down the road."

Joanne, like most of those affected by the attacks, said she would not let the events of July 7 prevent her from living a normal life in London.

"This could have happened anywhere in the world," she said.

"I will go back on the Tube and I will go back on the red buses."

Like most people, Joanne's mother Wendy, who still lives in Grafton, was shocked to see the bombing.

But her shock turned to fear when she realised where the attacks had taken place.

"I saw a news flash then a friend called me up and told me to change channels so I did and saw what had happened," Wendy said.

"I was just shocked because I knew where it was.

"The next thing the phone rang and it was Joanne."

The phone call from Joanne allayed any fears that her daughter may have been injured.

Wendy said her daughter was 'really upset' when she called.

"She called up just before all the phones went dead," she said.

Wendy said the whole thing was surreal.

"We just can't believe it happened, it shocked us" she said.

"She was quite shaken but she will be okay."

nClarence Valley residents who have relatives or friends in London can email The Daily Examiner with their stories about the horrific blasts.

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