11-year-old who warned tourists of danger is honoured
Monday 26 December 2005
While the thoughts of most Britons gathering in Thailand today to mark the anniversary of the tsunami will be on those they have lost, one 11-year-old girl will have a chance to reflect on those she is credited with saving.
Tilly Smith, from Oxshott, Surrey, was on a beach in Phuket with her family on Boxing Day last year when she noticed the sea change in temperament and was reminded of a geography lesson she had attended shortly before the Christmas break.
Convinced she was witnessing the warning signs of a tsunami, Tilly raised the alarm with her parents and hotel staff, and the beach was vacated minutes before the waves struck. She said she had seen "bubbling on the water ... and foam sizzling just like in a frying pan."
Her efforts are thought to have resulted in ensuring the safety of the 100-plus people on the beach, and have now been credited by the French children's magazine, Mon Quotidien, whose readers have voted her Child of the Year. Tilly said: "I'm very glad I was able to say on the beach that a tsunami was coming. And I'm glad they listened to me."
She will be among 137 Britons attending memorial services in Thailand today, remembering the 5,400 who died, including 129 British people.
In one service on Christmas Eve, around 50 relatives of UK victims gathered on the rooftop of the Graceland Hotel in Patong Beach on Phuket. Three verses from Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Christmas Poem: "Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky ... Ring out the old, ring in the new ... Ring out the grief that saps the mind ... Ring in redress to all mankind", were read by Lord Triesman, the Foreign Office minister. "They've chosen to come back and stand in the place that they lost those they loved. That's not easy," he said afterwards.
Howard Digby-Johns, a lay minister who led the service, placed a wreath at the Mai Khao cemetery memorial wall earlier in the day. This white plywood construction at the entrance to the former base of corpse-identification units remains a moving testament to the dead.
But ceremonials are not what some British relatives came to Phuket for. Tal Berman Howarth, who lost her brother, Avadya Berman, and his girlfriend, Nikki Liebowitz, was on her way to islands south-east of Phuket. "I won't have so much to do with the ceremonies. I'm sure they'll be nice but they won't be me and mine. I'll trust my instincts, I'll do my own," she said.
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 5 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Bangkok Bomb: Thai police name Adem Karadag as suspect arrested over blast that killed 20
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...