London ‘too much of a risk’

Family plays it safe but others head for capital

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Anxious move .. Timaru couple Kristy Swain and David O'Rourke and son Travis Sim (5) visit Powerscourt Estate, County Wicklow, Ireland last week as part of their European holiday. The family decided to skip the London visit in their European holiday because of recent terrorist activity in the city. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

by Rachael Comer

The “high alert” situation in London has prompted a Timaru couple to change their travel itinerary.
Kristy Swain and David O’Rourke took their son, Travis Sim (5), to Europe earlier this month to attend Mr O’Rourke’s sister’s wedding in Ireland, but called off the London leg of their holiday following terrorist activity in the city.
“We need to be safe and we are travelling with our 5-year-old son and it wouldn’t be fair on him,” Miss Swain said.
But a Timaru travel broker said while there was increasing unease in London, she was still booking travellers to England’s capital.
London has been the centre of terrorist attacks this month. An attack at Finsbury Park on Monday that killed one and injured 10 followed a terrorist attack on June 3 in which a van mounted the pavement of London Bridge, driving into pedestrians, killing eight people and injuring 48. The attackers, Islamist extremists, were shot dead by police.
In May, a bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killed 23 adults and children and injured 119.
Miss Swain said the family had decided to go to Dublin, Ireland, but not London.
“We’ve opted to skip the London leg of our journey on the way home as it’s not fair to be on high alert with the wee guy.”
The three had been due to travel to London on Sunday for five nights.
“We felt that after the last terrorist incident, we decided it was possibly too high-risk to go to London, considering we have our 5-year-old son with us.”
“It would not be fair to be on such high alert and therefore not enjoy London as we had intended.”
Miss Swain said they had not regretted their decision.
“We are certain we have made the appropriate decision.
“Ireland has far exceeded our expectations for travelling. The stunning scenery, together with its rich history, far outweighs missing our trip to London.
“London will always be there and we will aim to go next time.”
She said being away from home with heightened security was a nervous time.
“There was a couple of times I felt uneasy.
“I think it was due to the police presence here [Dublin], but otherwise we’ve felt very safe – especially at the tourist attractions.”
Another South Canterbury resident, Sophie Lloyd, who is in England on holiday with family, said she was cautious but had not been put off travelling.
“We still went to London recently and although we were more wary, we didn’t let it worry us or stop us going.”
Mrs Lloyd, her husband, Tom, and two daughters are staying in Northampton, England with Mr Lloyd’s family.
“We haven’t noticed any increase in security or anxiety,” she said.
Timaru travel broker Nicola Sorenson said she was still arranging travel to London.
“I’ve just been to London myself – I was there a week before the latest [June 3] terrorist attack,” Mrs Sorenson said.
She said clients she had spoken to were aware of increased security but were still choosing to travel to London and none had changed their plans to avoid the city.
“I’m still getting people booking to go to London next year, which is a good sign.”