We miss you dad

A YEAR may have passed, but for Louise Gray the memories of the day which took her husband's life are still as raw as ever. On Friday she will return to the scene, but knows life must go on.

A YEAR may have passed, but for Louise Gray the memories of the day which took her husband's life are still as raw as ever. On Friday she will return to the scene, but knows life must go on.

LISA WOOLLARD discovers the enduring effect of the Aldgate bombing.

LOUISE Gray's world has been turned upside down.

The mother-of-two says she cannot even begin to look to the future, because coping day-to-day is enough right now.

The former deputy manager of a nursing home, had to give up her job after her husband Richard was killed in the London bombings, and is now a stay-at-home mum looking after their children 12-year-old Adam and Ruby, eight.

“I cannot even watch the news any more,” she said. “It just has constant reminders of terrorism, and the dreadful events of that day. And I fear that they will start to make movies of the day. I cannot bear for it to be glamorised and exaggerated, and I feel it is very disrespectful. But there is money to be made about the event and so it will always be difficult to escape.

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“Sometimes everything is just as raw as it was this time last year. I was angry for a long time, but holding on to that anger just messes with your head, and it is not going to do me or the kids any good if I am in a bad way.”

Richard Gray was one of 52 people who lost their lives, when suicide bombers struck the capital including Richard Ellery who worked for Jessops camera shop in Ipswich and was travelling to the Kensington branch for a training day. The last his Southampton-based family heard from him was a text message exchanged with his mother, shortly before his train arrived at Liverpool Street station.

Richard, 41, was on a tube heading towards Liverpool Street to his work as a tax manager in Pall Mall, when suicide bomber Shehzad Tanwer detonated explosives on the Circle Line train, killing seven on board.

More than 770 people were injured on the day, and bombs also exploded on tubes at Edgware Road, between King's Cross and Russell Square and on a bus in Tavistock Square.

Louise was on a training session at the time, and received a phone call from a friend who had seen the news. She said: “They asked if I had heard from Richard and if he was okay. I tried to contact him then, but his mobile was going straight to voicemail, and his office was saying he hadn't yet arrived.

“I went down to London on the Friday to meet Richard's brother, who was at the hospital speaking to liaison officers. I think it was after I filled in all their forms that I started to think perhaps he had died, but there were still unidentified people in hospital.”

The couple's two children have received counselling to cope with the tragic events of the day, and Louise, 34, of Irlam Road, said the year has changed them completely.

She said: “Sometimes it is difficult to believe they are the same children as they have changed so much.

“Ruby still gets upset about it all from time to time, but has coped with it all remarkably well.

“Since February, Adam has been a lot calmer and isn't so angry. They understand everything that happened, and have a lot of support from their schools.”

On the anniversary of the tragedy on Friday , Louise will travel to London to spend the morning at Aldgate where her husband died. She will go to a memorial service in the afternoon, before heading to Regent's Park in the evening.

Trying to find something positive to emerge from the aftermath, she said: “One good thing to come out of all of this is that my relationship with Richard's family has grown a lot stronger. I used to only visit his mum once a year because she lives in Somerset but since this has happened we have been five or six times, and the children know they can always go if they want.”

Louise and Richard planned lots of adventures to do together when the children grew up, and she has arranged to carry out one of those things on that list with her mother-in-law instead.

She said: “We had plans to go to Canada to Niagra Falls and Dublin where he used to live.

“They were dreams we had and said we would do when we were on our own, but now we cannot do them.

“One of things we wanted to do was to go Christmas shopping in St Petersburg, because Richard and I had always wanted to do that. This year I will go with his mum instead and that is as far as looking ahead in the future goes.”

Louise is currently having decking laid in the garden, and new plants bought in, to fulfil another of Richard's dreams of designing the space.


How did 7/7 touch your life? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Ip4 1aN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

The Gray family has received £5,500 compensation for Richard's death from the government, but are still struggling to get funds for Louise's loss of earnings.

Just 189 of the 319 awards made in relation to injuries and the death of loved ones have been paid in full, leaving 130 to be settled. Ministers yesterday faced calls in Parliament to speed up the payment of full compensation to the victims of the July 7 terror attacks.

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