Terror blast victim backs hospital fundraising appeal

A WOMAN who suffered serious facial burns in the London terrorist attacks on July 7, 2005, backed the launch of a £50,000 (about €60,000) hospital fundraising appeal to help fellow burns victims.

The image of Davinia Turrell clutching a surgical burns mask over her injured face in the wake of the Edgware Road station blast came to symbolise the horror of the London bombings, which claimed the lives of 52 victims.

She survived the fallout from the detonated bomb, but the “ball of fire” created in the carriage scorched the skin from the left side of her face.

The 29-year-old, who married last year and is now called Davinia Douglass, told the Evening Standard: “I walked through the entire length of the train. I remember people screaming and sounding shocked as I walked through the back carriages.”

She added: “I didn’t realise I was injured, I was still in shock. I remember telling people that I needed to get to work.”

Photographers captured her as she was helped across the road to a makeshift A&E station by former firefighter Paul Dadge while wearing the protective mask.

Douglass was subsequently treated at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital – the only hospital to offer a specialist Burns Service in London.

She said: “I went from being convinced that I would be seriously scarred for life and that my life would be ruined, to being hopeful that the medics who were looking after me would be able to put me back together as I had been before.”

The hospital’s appeal hopes to provide the unit with a burns psychological screening programme to ensure all burns in-patients receive psychological assessment – something that was not previously available to Douglass.

Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity have already raised £50,000 towards the £100,000 target needed to fund a clinical psychologist for two years.

Meanwhile Britain’s domestic spy agency MI5 is tracking a number of terrorism plots against Britain, despite successes in curbing the threat from extremists since the deadly attacks on London’s transit network five years ago, an official said yesterday.

Prime Minister David Cameron marked the fifth anniversary of the July 7, 2005, bombings, sending a wreath and handwritten note to be laid at a memorial to the 52 commuters killed in the attack.

“It was a dreadful day but it is also a day that will remain, I believe, a symbol of the enduring bravery of the British people,” Cameron told the House of Commons.

As the bereaved and injured marked the anniversary, security officers said they continue to monitor hundreds of suspected extremists and plots, but believe work at home and overseas has hampered the ability of terrorists to mount major attacks.

Security officials said a range of threats at various stages of development are being monitored in Britain – but did not offer a specific figure on how many are under surveillance.


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