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Tributes paid to UK Tunisia victims

Posted by Warren Fyfe on June 28, 2015 in Warren Fyfe Site
A boy arranges candle lights on a fence in front of the Hotel Imperial Marhaba in Sousse, Tunisia

Tributes are being paid to victims of the Tunisia beach attack which left 38 dead, including at least 15 Britons.

No British victims have been officially identified but the names of some were confirmed by friends and family.

It comes as the relatives of others still missing since the gun attack near Sousse desperately await any news of their loved ones.

More than 1,000 British tourists have returned to the UK, while it is thought 2,500 more could fly home on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Theresa May is to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee later.

Peace rally

Tunisian student Seifeddine Rezgui, 23, who has links with Islamic State, opened fire on tourists at noon on Friday.

Rezgui shot at people on the beach near the Imperial Marhaba and Bellevue hotels. He then entered at least one of the hotel lobbies, where grenades were also detonated.

He then walked through the streets of Sousse where he was reportedly chased by local Tunisians, firing shots at them.

It has also been reported that local builders threw rubble down at him from rooftops as he passed by in the street. The attack eventually ended when he was shot dead by police.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered close to the scene a day after the attack for a rally against terrorism, with some holding candles and others carrying flags of the UK and Tunisia.


People shouted “Peace” and “Sousse will never die” during a protest against terrorism on Saturday night


Tourists gestured peace signs from inside a bus as demonstrators took part in the rally


The candlelight rally was held to express solidarity with those affected by the attack

Further details have been emerging about those who lost their lives in the shooting, which was described as the most significant terrorist attack on British people since 52 were killed in the 7 July 2005 London bombings.

The UK government has warned the death toll will rise in the Tunisia attack.

Among those so far confirmed dead by family or friends are:

  • Carly Lovett, 24, a beauty blogger and photographer from Gainsborough in Lincolnshire who was first to be named
  • Sue Davey and her partner Scott Chalkley, both in their 40s, whose deaths were confirmed by their respective sons
  • Adrian Evans, 44, from the West Midlands and his 22-year-old nephew Joel Richards
  • Bruce Wilkinson, 72, from Goole in Yorkshire
  • Lisa Burbidge, in her 60s, from Tyne and Wear
  • Irish national Lorna Carty, who was in her 50s and from Robinstown in County Meath

Carly Lovett, Adrian Evans and Joel Richards, left to right


Sue Davey and Scott Chalkley


Lorna Carty

One Belgian and one German have so far been identified among the dead, the health ministry said. There were also thought to be Tunisians and French killed in the attack.

At least 36 people were injured, some seriously.

‘Only just sinking in’

Adrian Evans, from the West Midlands, was described as popular by his long-standing employer.

“Adrian was a lovely man. I’ve already been inundated from members of the council and other officers offering condolences to the family. He was well liked. He worked with us for a very, very long time and it’s frankly only just sinking in,” said Darren Cooper, leader of Sandwell Council, where Mr Evans worked.

Joel Richards, a student at the University of Worcester, was described as a “talented” local football referee, who had “the world at his feet”.

“He was highly thought of and will be sadly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this tragic time,” added Birmingham County FA.

Walsall FC said both Mr Evans and Mr Richards were fans of the club, and tweeted that those fellow supporters who wished to could lay scarves at the stadium from Monday.

Tributes were also paid to couple Sue Davey and Scott Chalkley, whose sons had taken to Twitter in the aftermath of the attack in a bid to find them.

Ms Davey’s son Conor Fulford, posting on Twitter on Saturday night to confirm the death of his mother, said: “Love you always Mom, I’ve got my teddy bear you got me tonight, Rest easy xxxx”

Mr Chalkley’s son Ross Naylor wrote: “I want to say thanks to everyone who has helped, you have all been amazing. One love to all and rest in peace dad.”


Flowers are being left at the spot next to the Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba where 38 people were killed

Other relatives of those still missing continue to face an agonising wait for information.

Daniel Welch, from Swindon in Wiltshire, has not heard from his grandfather John Welch, 74, and his partner Eileen Swannack, 70, since the attack.

He said the hardest thing was “not knowing”, adding: “We are at a bit of a loss and we can only expect the worst.”


John Welch and his partner Eileen Swannack

The family of Denis and Elaine Thwaites, from Blackpool, Lancashire, are appealing for information about their whereabouts.

The retired couple, aged 70 and 69, arrived in Sousse on Wednesday and had been staying at the Marhaba.


Denis and Elaine Thwaites

Their son-in-law Danny Clifford said news the family had received telling them Mr and Mrs Thwaites were in hospital was proved to be misinformation. “We are absolutely frantic,” he added.

Death toll warning

The UK government has warned the death toll is likely to rise because several people had been “seriously injured” in the attack.

It also warned further terrorist attacks in Tunisia, including in resort areas, were possible, “including by individuals who are unknown to the authorities”.

It previously emerged that the gunman – who began his attack by posing as a swimmer but was carrying a rifle under a parasol – was not known to the authorities beforehand.

His parents, sister and close friends have been detained by the Tunisian authorities.


An image published on sites associated with Islamic State purported to show the Tunisian gunman

Many of the tourists in the affected hotels have left the country or are waiting for specially arranged flights – however others said they would stay.

Thomson and First Choice said some 5,400 of their customers remain in Tunisia, with up to 2,500 expected to return to the UK on Sunday.

An additional 11 Thomson flights as well as one third-party flight with Nouvelle Air are currently due to leave later.

Some holidaymakers decided not to take earlier flights to allow others to leave first.

Laura Hepple, from Runcorn, who escaped the gunfire by hiding in a hotel bathroom, said: “We had a flight booked for Sunday anyway and we decided we would stick with that, have the last day of the holiday. [We're] probably [in] the safest place at the moment with armed guards around and… let the people with families who’re actually got another week left to take the earlier flights.”

Travel developments

  • All Thomson and First Choice holidays to Tunisia for the next week have been cancelled
  • Jet2.com and Jet2holidays also cancelled flights and holidays to Tunisia up to July 5
  • EasyJet said customers who booked to travel to Monastir in Tunisia within the next 14 days could have a free flight transfer on any date and on any route, or a flight voucher
  • Thomas Cook sent flights to repatriate people, and although the hotels involved are not offered by the firm, the company said it was supporting its customers at other resorts
  • Holidaymakers elsewhere in the country are advised to contact their tour operator and follow any instructions issued by local authorities
  • The Foreign Office is advising people in the area to keep in touch with their tour operator and follow advice from Tunisian security authorities

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33302750#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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