7 July bombing memorial to be unveiled

A memorial to the 52 people killed in the 7 July attacks in London will be officially unveiled today to coincide with the fourth anniversary of the bombings.

The memorial, in Hyde Park in London’s West End, consists of 52 stainless steel pillars, one for each victim. These are grouped in four clusters, to mark the four locations of the attacks: Tavistock Square, Edgware Road, King’s Cross and Aldgate.

There is also a 1.4 tonne stainless steel plaque with the names of all those who were killed. The Prince of Wales and Tessa Jowell, the humanitarian assistance minister, will lead the nation in remembering those killed.

Saba Mozakka, 28, whose mother, Behnaz Mozakka — a 47-year-old biomedical officer — was killed on a tube train as it travelled from King’s Cross to Russell Square, was one of six relatives of victims on the design board that worked to produce the monument.

“My family will never, ever be the same after what took place on 7 July 2005. We want very clearly for future generations to see the devastation that was caused by these murderous and callous acts,” she said.

Mozakka said the families had wanted a memorial that would be very prominent in London and provide a “reflective space”. “We are very proud of the fact the memorial would be in Hyde Park and reflect everything good about London — its vibrancy.”

Architect Kevin Carmody, of Carmody Groarke, worked closely with the families, the government and the Royal Parks to create the monument. He described it as giving “a sense of the randomness of the loss of life”.

The prime minister, Gordon Brown, the Tory leader, David Cameron, the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, the London mayor, Boris Johnson, and senior figures from the emergency services and representatives of other organisations will be present at the unveiling ceremony.

Johnson said the memorial “echoes the steely determination shown by Londoners in the days following the bombings”.

Johnson, Jowell, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will meet the families of those killed in the bombings before the event begins.

The prince and Jowell will address the audience before Sir Trevor MacDonald, who is hosting the ceremony, reads out the names of the 52 victims and a minute’s silence is observed.

Prince Charles will then lay a wreath on behalf of the nation while the duchess will leave a floral tribute for the families.

Graham Foulkes, whose 22-year-old son, David, was killed in the Edgware Road bombing, said: “To me, it sends out a clear message to bombers and terrorists — that no matter what they do, they just cannot win, because we value every single life.”

Foulkes, from Oldham in Greater Manchester, said calls for a memorial by victims’ families and survivors had initially been obstructed by ministers but the Department for Culture, Media and Sport had been “absolutely terrific” in bringing the idea to fruition.

However, he is still angry at the government’s refusal to hold an independent inquiry into the atrocities.

“The frustration is enormous — knowing that David died and they are not interested in finding out how to prevent it ever happening again,” he said.

Haroon Siddique and agencies