Gill Hicks recalls: “Waking up in London just as I did 11 years ago the day before the bombings. My whole last day of life as I knew it.”
Here, she talks to TV presenter Chris Bath about the London bombings, how love saved her life and the inspiring challenges she’s undertaken to prove you can triumph against tragedy. Think climbing Australia’s tallest building and, yes, even swimming with sharks.
On 7 July 2005, four suicide bombers with rucksacks full of explosives attacked central London. 52 people were killed by the terrorists and hundreds more injured. Travelling to work on the Underground that summer morning was London-based South Australian, Gill Hicks – she was standing just meters from one of the men as he detonated his bomb. 26 of her fellow commuters were killed and more than 340 injured but Gill survived. Just. She suffered severe and permanent injuries, losing both legs just below the knee – her condition so extreme the triage team fastened an identifier to her wrist which read ‘One Unknown Estimated Female’.
While she’s unfailingly serious in her role as Peace Advocate and founder of Not For Profit network M.A.D. for Peace (acronym for Making A Difference For Peace), it’s evident Gill’s lost none of the quirky and irreverent sense of humour which carried over from what she calls her ‘first life’ – that is, before the incident.
In this compelling interview with TV presenter Chris Bath, conducted during the aftermath of the Paris terrorist bombings, the 2015 South Australian of the Year shares details of what the London bombings taught her; the excitement and fear involved in completing the ten challenges she’s taken on this year to commemorate the one decade anniversary of that incident which launched her into her ‘second life’, and finally the birth in 2013 of her beloved daughter Amélie, which, she says marked the “second miracle” in her life.
More about (Dr) Gill Hicks MBE:
In 2007 Gill founded the not for profit organisation M.A.D. for Peace, a platform that connects people globally and encourages ‘us’ to think of Peace as a Verb, something that we have an individual responsibility to ‘do’ every day.
In 2008, Gill released her 1st book entitled One Unknown, named after the chilling label given to her as she arrived to hospital as an unidentified body. Her book received fantastic reviews and as a major recognition it was shortlisted for the Mind Book of the Year Awards (2008).
With honours, and impressive achievements Gill has demonstrated her commitment to making a personal difference. To name just a few of these accolades; selected to carry the 2008 Olympic Torch in Canberra, recognised with an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List (2008-09) for her services to charity, becoming both the Australian of the Year in the UK and Australian Woman of the Year in UK for 2009, receiving two Honorary Doctorates, one in Philosophy from the London Metropolitan University, recognising her contribution to architecture and design and her work promoting the importance of establishing sustainable peace, the other from Kingston University in recognition to her dedication to rehabilitative health.
Since her return to Australia in 2012, she has been recognised as South Australian, Australian of the Year 2015 and is Chair to the Innovation component for the Committee for Adelaide.
To view in iTunes, click here.