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Prince Harry joins families of Tunisia terror victims at service

John Hall, Dean of Westminster, top left, gives a reading during a service of commemoration at Westminster Abbey, London, for the victims of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Tunisia. Picture by Justin Tallis, Press Association
 
Scott D'Arcy and Georgina Stubbs, Press Association

PRINCE Harry joined the loved ones of Britons killed in terror attacks in Tunisia at a special memorial service at Westminster Abbey.

Thirty Britons were among 38 people massacred in the Tunisian resort town of Sousse in June last year.

Three Irish people, Lorna Carty from Robinstown, Co Meath, and Martina and Laurence Hayes from Athlone, Co Wesmeath, were also killed. 

Harry laid a wreath at the Innocent Victims Memorial on behalf of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth as he gathered with survivors and families affected by the two atrocities in 2015.

He also delivered a reading during the central London service, which was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, and attended by British prime minister David Cameron.

Members of public looked on outside the Abbey as Harry, wearing a dark blue suit, laid the wreath of white flowers before rising and bowing his head in a moment of silent reflection.

The circular stone and slate memorial was unveiled by the Queen Elizabeth in 1998 and created to remember victims of war, violence and oppression across the world.

During the service, Prince Harry and Mr Cameron both read Bible passages, from Revelations and Isaiah respectively, before the 900-strong congregation.

Dr Hall said: “We remember with thanksgiving those whose lives were brutally cut short.

“We honour the courage of those who survived and the families of those who suffered.

“We share our grief with victims of attacks from other countries and their families.”

He said many of those attending sought the answer as to why the attacks happened, adding he did not believe the deaths were fated or were “an act of God”.

“People have to choose and have the freedom to choose. Some will follow the way of light and peace. Tragically others will follow the way of darkness and destruction,” he said.

“Our prayer today is for the defeat of darkness and destruction and that light and peace may have the victory.”

Gunman Seifeddine Rezgui targeted holidaymakers on the beach and in a hotel before being shot dead by security forces. Terror group Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility.

Among those killed was engineer Stephen Mellor, from Bodmin, Cornwall, who died as he shielded his wife Cheryl.

Three generations of one family also died when Joel Richards, 19, a University of Worcester student and talented football referee, and his uncle Adrian Evans, 49, and grandfather Charles “Patrick” Evans, 78, were gunned down. Joel’s teenage brother Owen survived the attack.

Three months earlier, IS terrorists opened fire on tourists at the Bardo National Museum in the capital Tunis. British tourist Sally Adey, 57, from Shropshire, was among 22 people killed.

Family and friends of the victims placed 31 candles on the Abbey’s altar in memory of each of those who died, before their names were read aloud by BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner.

Mr Gardner, himself shot by terrorists in 2004, also spoke during the service about his experiences.

He said: “The scars that we carry for things like this are in your head, more than anywhere else.”

He added his daughter had taught him an important lesson, when she told him: “Dad, the people who did this to you, they are dead or in prison but you get to come on holiday with us.”

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