Admiral Duncan survivors mark 20 years since Soho pub bombing

Friday, 3rd May 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Admiral Duncan remembrance

Rev Simon Buckley leads the remembrance walk in Soho

HUNDREDS walked the streets of Soho to mark 20 years since a devastating bomb killed three people in the heart of London’s LGBT community.

On April 30 1999 a nail bomb exploded in the Admiral Duncan pub in Old Compton Street, killing Andrea Dykes, 27, who was four months pregnant, Nik Moore, 31, and 32-year-old John Light.

More than 100 people were injured.

On Tuesday an estimated 800 to 1,000 people walked behind the families of the victims, survivors, and emergency services in remembrance, in the biggest parade yet.

Mark Healey, founder of the 17-24-30 National Hate Crime Awareness Week group, which organised the event, said: “I think there’s a great sense of community and people felt the power of us all standing together.

Flags adorn the pub on Old Compton Street, Soho

“In a sense it was really quite an act of defiance against those who spread hate. One person came into the community and planted a bomb but 800 to 1,000 people turned out to share love.”

Mr Healey added: “There were a couple of survivors there who I know had not been to these events before because they struggled with the pain and the experiences that they went through.

“They said it was cathartic and they actually felt a sense of relief to come along and let go of some of the things they were holding on to.

“I think it’s important everyone does that when they are ready and in their own time. Some people could do that straight away and for some people it takes 20 years. There will be other people who may never be able to do that but hopefully we are encouraging conversations to take place in the community to find other ways for them to have that outlet.”

Tribute in the gardens: the Pink Singers

The attack in Soho was the third bomb by a 23-year-old Neo-nazi.

The other two were days earlier in Brixton and Brick Lane, targeting London’s black and Asian communities.

The Reverend Simon Buckley, rector at St Anne’s Church, Soho, led a memorial service in St Anne’s Gardens in Wardour Street on Tuesday evening.

In his reading the rector said: “It is easy to lose hope and faith in humankind when we watch repeated scenes of carnage on our news and hear the racist and homophobic rhetoric that is being openly, and even proudly, declaimed in diverse places across the globe.

Among those taking part were members of the emergency services

“But I take comfort from this: that while one man caused carnage here 20 years ago tonight, a great many more instinctively rushed to the aid of the total strangers he had attacked.

“So, let us say loudly to all those who continue to hate their fellow men and women – you are outnumbered.”

Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick was among officials to attend the service, which included poems read out by LGBT Poet Laureate Trudy Howson and relatives of those who passed away.

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