Spirit still strong after bombing ordeal

Photo: Martin Corben.

After four operations and six months of traction and physiotherapy following the London bombings last year, former Lismore Herb Festival director Louise Barry (pictured) was looking fabulous and in good spirits when she returned to the Northern Rivers recently to visit friends.

Louise was travelling on the Tube in July last year when a bomb exploded in the train. Uninjured, Louise decided to continue her journey to work, only to board the bus that was hit by a massive bomb in Tavistock Square.

Despite having a broken neck and the toggle of the bomb embedded in her thigh, Louise managed to walk 30 metres over broken glass, believing another explosion was imminent.

Louise was taken to University Hospital in central London and within hours of her arrival a nurse from Perth, who had heard an Aussie girl was injured in the bombings, was by her side.

He was my guardian angel, said Louise.

Whilst in hospital with a halo traction device attached to her head, Louise found herself the centre of media attention, and was visited by prime minister John Howard. Although far from recovered, Louise took the opportunity to question the PM on issues she holds dear.

Im sure he wasnt expecting it but I wasnt going to let the chance go. I drilled him on his environmental policies the forests, the air we breathe, greenhouse gas emissions and Australias refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol. He gave a politicians response, said Louise with a wry smile.

But it was a visit by local politician, Lismore MP Thomas George, that really pleased her. He had been at a cricket match and, learning that Louise loved the game, arranged for her to go and see an Ashes Test match when she left hospital.

Throughout her time in hospital Louise maintained the positive spirit which she was known for when she lived and worked in Lismore. She is now travelling in Thailand and Vietnam with her boyfriend Dan Abbott, who was by her side throughout her recovery.

Although it will take some time before Louises injuries have fully healed, she is determined to get on with life.

I will never be a victim of the bombings, she said. I am a survivor.

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