UK to mark Tunisian massacre one year after 30 Britons killed at resort


The first anniversary of a seaside massacre in Tunisia in which 30 Britons died will be marked by families on Sunday, with Government staff observing a one-minute silence the next day.

A total of 38 people were killed when gunman Seifeddine Rezgui went on a rampage in the coastal resort of Port El Kantaoui near Sousse on June 26 last year.

He was shot dead by police after carrying out the attack, for which terror group Islamic State claimed responsibility.

The family of 66-year-old Lisa Burbidge, from Gateshead, who was among those killed, will hold a remembrance service for the victims at St Mary's Church, Whickham on Sunday, followed by the unveiling of a memorial bench.

They released a statement describing her as "a fantastic loyal friend and a beautiful person", adding that the past 12 months have been "incredibly difficult for us".

A one-minute silence will be observed in government buildings across the UK and in British embassies overseas on Monday at noon to pay respects to those who lost their lives and were affected by the attack.

The minister for North Africa, Tobias Ellwood, has travelled to Tunisia for meetings with officials from the country's government.

He said: "As we mark the first anniversary of the horrific terrorist attack in Sousse we remember the 38 people brutally murdered, including 30 British nationals.

"A year on, we keep in our thoughts and prayers the family and friends who lost loved ones, those who were injured and others who witnessed this horrendous attack.

"We continue to work closely with Tunisia to enhance security and support economic development and reform. Tunisia will not stand alone in the face of the terrorist threat and the UK will be by its side."

Suzanne Richards from Wednesbury, West Midlands said she was left devastated by the deaths of her son Joel Richards, mother Pat Evans and sister Adrian Evans in the attack.

"We will never come to terms with what happened," she explained.

"We just hope the inquest process can shed some light on exactly what happened so that all the grieving families can begin to understand how their loved ones died and whether more could have been done to protect them."

Graeme Scott, 44, from Irchester, Northamptonshire survived the attack by hiding in a hotel cellar with his mother and father.

He said his family have struggled to sleep because of what happened and he has been reluctant to visit some busy places.

"We were waking up in the middle of the night hearing gun shots and panicking," he told the Press Association.

"It took me a long time to go to the local shopping centre because you didn't know who was in front or behind you or where the escape route was.

"It's there every day. You're always thinking about the situation."

He said he will attend a private service and lunch with around 40 other British survivors on Sunday.

Clive Garner of law firm Irwin Mitchell, which is representing some of the people affected by the attack at inquest hearings and in civil claims, said: "Obviously nothing can bring back those who lost their lives in Sousse, but the families who we represent rightly want to have their questions answered.

"There is much that they still want to understand, including the details of what happened before and during the incident and whether more could have been done to prevent the terrible loss of life."

Since the attack, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all but essential travel to Tunisia.

The North African country's tourism officials have called for the guidance to be relaxed, claiming it suggests that the perpetrators are "on the winning side".