Survivor of 7/7 bombings reflects on tenth anniversary of terror blasts

Dr Mike Townsend with guide dog Tom pictured ten years ago. '(Mail file picture: Andrew Carpenter).
Dr Mike Townsend with guide dog Tom pictured ten years ago. '(Mail file picture: Andrew Carpenter).

A blind man from the Harborough district who was led to safety by his guide dog during the terryfying aftermath of the 7/7 London terrorist attacks has been reflecting on the ordeal ten years’ on.

Dr Mike Townsend, who lives in Fleckney and is technical director of the Torch Trust for the Blind charity, was just 90 seconds away from the fourth and final blast at Tavistock Square on 7/7.

His guide dog at the time, Tom, took Dr Townsend on a different route to avoid the chaos cand confusion caused by the bombs and the black labrador was later that year given a bravery award by the Kennel Club and the Guide Dogs for the Blind charity.

The 7/7 terror attacks killed 52 people and left hundreds maimed and injured.

Memorial events have been taking place in London today (Tuesday) at Hyde Park and St Paul’s Cathedral to remember those who died a decade ago today.

In a long interview with the Mail yesterday (Monday), Dr Townsend says he has been steadfast in his resolve to live life as before - undeterred by what happened.

“I’ve been determined to live my life as I did before, I will not let what happened change my routines,” he told the Mail this week.

He is well-known at Harborough railway station with his new guide dog Oxford now in tow, and Dr Townsend continues to make frequent weekly trips to the capital.

“Different people deal with [the attacks] in different ways. One of my colleagues who was also in London and near to the blasts on the day still refuses to go to London.

“You could see a similar situation with survivors’ reactions to the recent Tunisia terrorist shootings: there are some who say ‘I will never, ever, go anywhere near there’ while others say ‘We are going back, we’re not going to let them scare us’.”

See this Thursday’s Harborough Mail for the full interview.