THE mother of a Worcester man killed in the Bali bombings attended a ceremony in London to mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack yesterday.
Neil Bowler, aged 27, who used to live in Feckenham, near Pershore, a former pupil of the King’s School, Worcester, was one of 28 Britons who lost their lives in the blast which killed 202 people and injured 204.
Mr Bowler was on a rugby tour when he died in the bombings on October 12, 2002. He worked for the Economist, was living in Singapore and played recreational rugby for the Singapore Rugby Club.
The blast also claimed the life of 39-year-old civil engineer Tom Holmes who attended Bromsgrove School. He lived in Upton for a short time before moving to Oxfordshire and then to Hong Kong. He had been with the Hong Kong rugby team who had been drinking in the Sari nightclub at the time of the explosion.
Maggie Stephens, aged 61, of Worcester, mother of Neil Bowler, said yesterday: “They took a team of 15 to the annual Bali Tens rugby tournament. They took 15 and eight of them were killed, all young men. “The families worked very hard to get this memorial put up which I think is a good way to remember our loved ones.
“We often come to London and we often come to the memorial. “It’s very special for the families to come together because nobody else – unless you’ve experienced something like this – knows how you feel.
“There is a sense of camaraderie from being with people who are in exactly the same boat as you are.”
Relatives of the 28 British victims also organised a service at St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden yesterday, which Mrs Stephens attended. She said: “We’ll all be together then, and then we, as a family, are going to meet up with quite a few of Neil’s friends who are now back in the UK to have a rum and coke in his name, or two.”
The Bali bombings left an “indelible mark” on Britain’s national memory, Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire said yesterday. The al Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group detonated bombs at two packed Bali nightspots.
Hundreds of people, including Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, as well as Britain’s ambassador to Indonesia, gathered for a ceremony on the island, where more than 2,000 police and military, including snipers, guarded the service amid security concerns.
In London, families and friends of the British victims attended a closed ceremony at the memorial to the victims of the bombings, at St James’s Park.
Some relatives of victims are calling for the final suspect linked to the attacks – Riduan Isamuddin, known as Hambali, who is being held in Guantanamo Bay – to stand trial.