This is what I wrote 10 years (7th July 2005) to the day following the London Bombings. I was Mayor of the City of Wolverhampton at the time. Also Corporate Affairs Director for National Express Travel West Midlands….today (2015) we remember the victims…this was my writings on that fateful day.
Today was a very difficult day, and it is not over yet.
I was in constant contact with colleagues from Travel London and I helped co -ordinate our response to the Press and Media as the dreadful events unfolded. Lucky for my company there was no fatality’s on our services. But the mayhem caused disruption fear and concerns.
Our London operation and our Travel London staff were steadfast and where we could run service we did. Where we couldn’t we obeyed the police instruction. Tonight we again endeavoured to get stranded school children home as a priority in London.
So as the carnage became clear here in the Midlands we started to pick up fear and scares. A suspicious package was found on a Travel Coventry bus. We dealt with the matter with professionalism. The army and police decided that the article should be made safe on board the vehicle and a robot blew it up after two attempts.
Again I anchored the press and media along with my colleague Stuart Henry. Again I think that we were able to re-assure the public. A further incident took place in Wolverhampton but along with the Police the package was dealt with…with minimum fuss.
All through the day the situation was tense and there were so many people acting in NX Bus Division with so much professionalism.
Very late afternoon and Travel Coventry were finally let back into the garage that they had been forced to evacuate. Again the first thoughts were to get service out to schools.
In Birmingham our staff and West Midlands police checked and searched buses in the City centre to re-assure passengers. Working in partnership we did well. Also having to deal with a burst water main in Broad Street!
Now to my apology. As Mayor I was due to officiate at the handover of a fine play area that had been constructed at Wood End Junior School. I did attend, it was very much a rushed appearance, and I want to publicly thank my wife, Mary, the City Mayoress for filling for me, as I rushed away to continue my linking role with the media and police.
My message to citizens Wolverhampton is a clear one. I hope that we remain vigilant and ready to report suspicious packages, and items, wh
ere ever they may be seen.
Keep your own property close to you especially when travelling on public transport.
Let’s not be terrorised into ‘not doing things’ that we like to do. We must ensure that our way of life that we value is maintained.
I want to also state that I hope our citizens will not start looking within for ‘scape goats’. I have faith that our police and security services will root out the perpetrators and British Justice should do the rest.
We should not, and we must not, look for ethnic reasons to vent frustration or anger. I welcome the British Muslims condemnation of today’s events. They like the rest of the British people are outraged by today’s terrorism in London.
I will be writing to the Mayor of London offering the City’s condolences and to express our solidarity with them in this very difficult time we are facing today.
For the children of Wood End School I hope I can make up with them by inviting a group of them to have tea with me in the Mayor’s Parlour a little later in the year.”
Author: Phil Bateman
Article Date: 7th July 2005