Tears flow at reopening of bombed pub

WITH CLOSELY cropped hair and outwardly impassive, as befits his trade, the security guard stood with muscular arms folded scanning the large crowd that had assembled outside the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho, London - target of the horrific nail bomb attack just nine weeks ago that left three people dead and 86 injured. But as the short ceremony drew to a close, and a singer belted out a powerful version of "Somewhere" from West Side Story, the security man's eyes filled with tears.

In front of him a small knot of victims and their relatives hugged and stroked each other, and wept openly. One young man on crutches, his leg still held together by a metal frame, was so overcome that he had to be escorted back inside. Such was the charged emotion on Old Compton Street, in the heart of the capital's gay district, last night.

Boy George had by then already supplied the celebrity presence at the event, wearing a polka dot top hat and escorted through the cheering crowd by a huge policeman.

"Tonight is about so many things. It is about sadness and remembrance, but it is also about moving on," he said. "The opening of the Admiral Duncan in just nine weeks sends out a powerful message to the small but very dangerous minority that wishes to terrorise and destroy London's gay and ethnic communities."

The ceremony was taken by Neil Whitehouse from the charity Kairos, directly next door to the pub, which aims to provide "social and spiritual resources for lesbians, gay men and friends". Introducing himself as an "out, gay Methodist minister", he called for the bombing to be a catalyst for greater understanding between different communities.

As the time moved towards 6.37pm, the exact moment of the explosion, the crowd was stilled into a minute's silence for the victims, followed by the tolling bell of the local parish church.

Then the staff of the pub, who had been on duty that night, cut ribbons on a large rainbow rosette hanging in the doorway to declare the pub open again. They were led by Mark Taylor, its manager, who suffered severe burns when the bomb went offas he shepherded customers out of the bar. He urged that the evening should be a celebration. "We have to look to the future," he said. He was described by his boss as "one of the most courageous men I have ever met".

The opening came on the eve of London's annual gay and lesbian street march and festival. This year it has been modelled on the flamboyant Mardi Gras events in Sydney and San Francisco. Last year the Gay Pride celebration had to be cancelled after the organisersfailed to sell enough tickets. This year they hired one of the organisers of Sydney's event, andalmost 40,000 of the 65,000 tickets have been sold for the after-march party in Finsbury Park, north London, where Steps, Billy, E17 and Boy George among others will perform.

people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
voicesBy the man who has
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

QA/BA - Agile

£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...

PPA Supply Teachers

£121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Early Years, KS1 & 2 Prima...

Primary Supply Teacher

£121 - £142 per annum: Randstad Education Luton: Early Years, KS1 & 2 Prim...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?